The Devil All The Time Movie Review: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland deliver gruesome acts in the name of God
Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland starrer The Devil All The Time releases today. Before you log into your Netflix and give it a watch, read our review below.
Movie Name: The Devil All The Time
The Devil All The Time Cast: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Bill Skarsgård, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling and Abby Glover.
The Devil All The Time Director: Antonio Campos
The Devil All The Time Rating: 3.5/5
Readers, I come to thee with a confession. When I first watched the trailer of the movie The Devil All The Time, I read the reviews of the book, bearing the same title, that the movie is based on. There were remarkable reviews which spoke highly of the literature. Although I haven't read the book, I was already sceptical about the dramatisation of the novel. But I think it is safe to say that director Antonio Campos has narrated the book, rather than dramatically played it out.
The Devil All The Time is set between the aftermath of World War II and before the Vietnam War. The Southern Gothic Netflix flick starts off with a soldier, Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård), returning from the War in the Pacific, bearing the gruesome and haunting images of the war who meets his wife at a cafe. Willard refused to indulge in prayer after what he'd witnessed on the frontline. But when he and his wife move to a small house up the hill in Ohio, he sets up makeshift altar behind his cabin in the woods where he would take his son along to pray.
His fate in god returns after his wife is diagnosed with cancer. A number of prayers and a horrific sacrifice later, she passed away and Willard doesn't stay long either, leaving behind Arvin by himself. He is taken to his grandma's home where he meets his stepsister, Lenora (Eliza Scanlen) who had a similarly tragic story to tell. Born to Roy Laferty(Harry Melling), a preacher who has an unexplainable belief in the Holy God's power and his sweet wife (Mia Wasikowska), she was left behind with Arvin's grandmother before the couple met their brutal death.
She grows up with her father's belief but holds on to her mother's innocence. Whereas Arvin walked the shoes of his father, with a lack of prayer and just enough anger to protect his little sister. As they two grow up, they cross paths with a new preacher (Robert Pattinson) who seems like a devil wearing a saint's cloak. The story takes an uncomfortable road through the woods, exploring the darkest secrets of the preacher and Arvin's attempt to unravel his true identity with blood on his hand.
Arvin then crosses paths with Sandy and Carl (Riley Keough and Jason Clarke), a twisted couple, who pick up hitchhikers and perform obscene photoshoots. The movie comes a full circle as Arvin manages to escape the twisted couple and return home to pay his last respects for a dog he lost as a child and hopes to start a fresh life.
The whole story is narrated by the author of the book Donald Ray Pollock. The Devil All The Time plays out for 2 hours and 18 minutes. While that does seem long, director Campos manages the story paces evenly for most of the parts. He places the jigsaw puzzles with the right amount of drama to take the movie to a peak before he could restart telling a new story. While most peaks work, the movie in between starts lagging, losing the interest of the viewer.
Another issue with the movie was an uneven investment in stories. For example, the start of the movie was rough, making it confusing to wrap their heads around the idea of the movie. It was as though the director wasn't sure which way to explore, the way of God, fate and belief or the characters in the frame. The preacher's story, played by Pattinson, could have been a tad more elaborate.
While he took the time to find his pace, the star-studded cast helped his build his foundation with ease. Skarsgård had his share of hiccups, changing pace from the scarred soldier to a loving husband. But once he tightens his seat-belt, it was hard to keep your eyes off him. The selfish and mindless father act ran shivers down the spine. Another actor that stood out in the stellar star cast was Jason Clarke. His chilling performances as a psychotic photographic get under your skin.
But the stars of The Devil All The Time are undoubtedly Pattinson and Holland. Having seen Holland shooting webs for most of his career, it was a refreshing change and a treat to watch him play out the raw, brutal yet naive Arvin who's out to protect his sister at all cost. The command on the screen and the confidence with which he carries the second half is remarkable. While Holland's non-Marvel act impressed, I was taken aback by the devilish Pattinson. The actor shines in every frame he's featuring in (nope, not a dig at his sparkling performance in Twilight) and overshadows Holland in their edge-of-the-seat confrontation scene.
The Devil All The Time is taken a notch higher by music directors Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurraains. Not just the songs played in the background but the background score also elevates every daunting scene.
Bottom Line: The Devil All The Time deserves a watch for its stellar performances and the great music.