The Devil All the Time; Grade: B+
The Devil All the Time tells a story involved around a young man named Arvin (Tom Holland), who’s mother (Haley Bennett) passed away partaking in an illness and his father (Bill Skarsgard) committed suicide at a young age. Arvin’s world will encounter many sinisters, as Arvin is bound protect those that he loves, and not fall in line with those that are heavily involved with evil.
The Cinematography was solid, I gotta appreciate the gruesome violent shots as they were executed perfectly, creating a disturbing atmosphere. The Score was solid, I like how it captures this early time period. The cast all in all honestly was outstanding, I thought everyone did a pretty damn good job. Tom Holland gets a breather from playing a bland Spider-Man that people forget within a week, as he gets show off his acting chops with a troubled young man named Arvin. Tom Holland gave a great performance as Arvin, how he delivers emotion and rage was on the money. Arvin’s world basically is covered by sin, as it seems like he’s the only person that has his eyes wide open that there is a great amount of evil, while others stand by and do nothing. I think this character will bring up a great amount of discussion regarding sin itself, as though Arvin gets involved in sin, it’s sin in which can be justify and there is so many evil doers around every corner just about. Robert Pattinson plays a small but significant role as the new priest and I thought he was terrific yet again. The way Pattinson delivers this strong southern accent, can be appear a little funny, however I couldn’t believe he managed to pull it off without leaving any flaw whatsoever. Many other performances to praise from Bill Skarsgard, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen, and so much more!
I do have flaws with The Devil All the Time. One aspect of the story regarding Sebastian Stan’s character, I thought was an uninteresting detour from the story, as he deals with a couple corrupt goons. Also worth mentioning one brutal incident that didn’t quite make any sense. The man stabbed his wife in the neck, as afterwards he calls out to God to resurrect her... What was the point in killing her in the first place?! If resurrecting people were that easy, surely everyone would do it all the time, as there would be no worries about death whatsoever. So I didn’t quite understand what the hell was that all about.
The Devil All the Time comes from film maker Antonio Campos, whom is known to make dark films. In the past I’m not too fond of Campos, as Christine was just ok and AfterSchool was fairly decent. It’s also worth noting those films aren’t as bad, in terms of creating a very dark atmosphere, it’s dark but to me it never gotten under my skin. With The Devil All the Time, it felt like Netflix gave Campos all the freedom in the world to create whatever he wanted, as no rules were applied, I wish more film companies would do that so we can receive great stuff. The Devil All the Time differs from previous Campos films, as far as dark content and quality as well... This is perhaps one of the darkest American made films, I’ve seen in quite awhile as it can be heading towards Foreign territory, regarding content that is insanely disturbing.
The story itself was well written, capturing an extremely sinister vibe as this young man will end up encountering many terrible people. My friend and even another acclaimed film lover, had to shut off this film early as the content was too much for them... Which while watching I understand clearly, the content in this film is horrendous. Like even the opening death sequence you’re already thinking to yourself, “Oh hell no!” How Campos delivers such an extremely disturbing experience, really brings out the horrific nature life has to offer, as evil is working as hard as good and sometimes doesn’t even get justified.
Arvin has a great amount of trouble regarding faith but more so humanity. I mean as a young child not only did he have to encounter his mother dying of an illness, but his father went absolute berserk in how he thought he would get his wife back, plus beating up a couple of civilians interrupting their prayer. I mean what Arvin’s father did to something Arvin clearly loved... That would mess me up for life. Arvin though still involved in some way with the church, doesn’t get too involved with it as his troubled past really has made him conflicted about it. But as time goes on though Arvin doesn’t in anyway disrespect the church... He also sees how others disguise themselves into being a “Loving person of God”, so they can get away with corruption but more so evil.
I don’t think the disturbing content should get in the way, just by how great these performances are and how intriguing this story is. Yes it’s messed up in all the worst ways, however it still stands strong on it’s own as it’s investing mostly start to finish. I think the ending is a bit questionable, as though brutal yet it’s satisfying, however regarding more so the moral meaning of it all? It’s up for debate for sure, whether it be discussing Good and Evil, Religion, How we Need to be more Aware, and especially how we judge sinners especially with a person like Arvin. I gotta say for one that’s not much of a fan of Campos: This one surprised me. I wasn’t even going to do a full review on this as I was considering putting this one a Weekly Roundup, but since it was so good and worth talking about... I couldn’t resist.
Overall, The Devil All the Time is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this out, be warned it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely an extremely dark brutal experience. -Mitch Smietana