Director: Antonio Campos
Writer/s: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos, Donald Ray Pollock
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgård, Haley Bennett, Riley Keough, Harry Melling, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, and more.
Hoooooo boy, I have been excited for this one for a little bit. Here I tackle the Netflix exclusive, “The Devil All the Time” starring….. quite literally everyone, but spearheading the group is current hot commodities Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. Not going to lie, this excellent cast is what intrigued me right off the bat. Aside from the two I just mentioned, we have Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Eliza Scalen, Jason Clarke, and so many others that have either been rocking recent films or quietly impressing the masses. Now add in the genres of crime, drama and thriller? We have a possible hit right in front of us then.
“Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.”
“There’s a lot of no good son’s of bitches out there.”
Well ain’t that the truth…
Well, I expected something special, but I did not expect how dark and gritty that special was going to get. “The Devil All the Time” gets down and dirty with this slow-burn drama/thriller. One thing that I wanted to focus on is the title, which translates to a certain theme. Essentially, almost all the characters in this film have dark intentions or at least darkness following them. My take on this film is that the devil has an influence on everyone, yet they mask their intentions in God and religion. Everyone is downright despicable and evil, yet they do not see it as so. I have been fascinated by all of these characters, even as I type this, because I have been trying to decipher the “why’s” of everyone’s actions and their true influences. I can not stress enough the fascination I have in this ensemble of characters.
Piggybacking on the characters, I want to go into a quick analysis and the impressions the characters had on me.
Tom Holland as Arvin Russell: One of the few “good” characters of the film, just has an unfortunate darkness following his life. This is Tom Holland as none have seen before. I have watched a few of his movies beyond Marvel, and most of them have been supporting roles. However, none have gotten this dark and serious. “The Devil All the Time” gives us a Holland performance proving he can get gritty. The final act of this film simply Wow’d me regarding Holland.
Robert Pattinson as Preston Teagardin: Oh ya’ll know I love my R-Patts. Pattinson entered this film with a trick up his sleeve. Director Antonio Campos had a majority of the cast send him recordings of their accents, yet Pattinson refused and also refused a voice coach. He showed up on the first day of filming with his accent a secret, and when he started his parts, boy was it a shock. If you watched the film, you already know his accent and developed your opinion of it. Myself, I could not help but laugh, though in admiration of his crazed accent. If you have not seen it, get ready!
Aside from the accent, Pattinson has a limited but still quite impressive performance loaded up here. Competing for most despicable, his character of Preston is just evil. Once again building on his history of unique and wildcard characters.
Bill Skarsgård puts in heavy competition for my favorite character with his Willard Russell. In my opinion, the darkness that looms over this entire film is set forth with Willard. He sets the tone for Arvin and what will be his personality for the rest of his life, as well as the demons he faces internally. He also has his roots spread across a large number of the cast.
Willard is quite the character, and I am very fascinated by him over most of the others. Bill’s performance is fantastic and makes me want to explore his filmography a bit more.
Haley Bennett as Charlotte Russell: The mother to Arvin and the wife to Willard. I might make the call that her and Helen Hatton (Mia Wasikowska) could be the only two pure good characters in the film, barring other characters who may have a smaller role than supporting. She does not have as much screen time as others, but her presence was known and felt.
Riley Keough as Sandy Henderson and Jason Clarke as Carl Henderson: These two are twisted. I may not have a full grasp on Riley’s character yet, and Jason’s character is simply disgusting, in my opinion, but these two are the big rivals for top most villainous characters.
Harry Melling as Roy Laferty and Mia Wasikowska as Helen Hatton: As I said before, Helen and Charlotte might be the purest of the devils here. Limited screen time as well for Mia, but still effective. Harry Melling may have put on his best performance for his recent years, at least that I have seen. A troubled, blind, and kind of sad individual who simply runs into even more trouble.
Last and certainly not least, Eliza Scanlen as Lenora Laferty: The two prominent roles that I recognize Eliza for is obviously here with “The Devil All the Time,” and “Little Women.” Eliza plays the “hopeful woman” beautifully, yet both roles have their tragedies to them. She is the ticking time bomb that is inside Arvin, and once the switch is flipped, we see how much of a key player Lenora is.
“The Devil All the Time” is quite the slow-burning wild ride. There are a good number of traumatic moments that really sit with you after they happen. The film rides the dramatic tag as well as any film has in 2020, in my opinion. As I broke down, there are a number of complex characters to get hooked on and watch unravel. It simply is quite the quality flick out of the number of digital releases for the year. If a gritty and grinding drama/thriller is more your speed for a film, then give this a view ASAP. The performances are off the charts, and the moments will sit with you long after a view!
Editor: Erica McNatt
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