The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time (film) - Wikipedia

I did not know anything about this movie until I happened to see it on a casual glance at Netflix. There was Tom Holland starring in this unfamiliar movie. So I was excited to watch it and on the first opportunity, I did.

I have to say, I found it disappointing.

There are a group of characters in this movie, with Tom Holland’s Arvin Russell being the main protagonist, probably. There are a series of characters, all unlikable and rotten, who the film follows. Robert Pattinson plays a scumbag preacher taking advantage of the young and impressionable girls of the area. A husband and wife (Jason Clarke, Riley Keough) who are serial killers, picking up hitchhikers and killing them. There is a sheriff (Sebastian Stan) who is crooked and in the pocket of a local criminal.

Arvin has a terribly dark past with his father and mother and ends up with other family members. Arvin is shown to be vicious at times, but, perhaps, deep down a good person. At least, he can justify the behavior he showed.

The worst part of the film, for me, was the voice over that told this story. The entire time, I kept picturing the Dukes of Hazzard with Waylon Jennings telling us what those Duke Boys were up to. It was distracting and felt tonally off key. There were a couple of times when I nearly laughed because of the narrating and I do not expect that laughter was the intended purpose.

The cast was very good. Tom Holland was great here. I never thought of him as Peter Parker, and, for me, that is a major bonus. Sebastian Stan was solid too, as I did not even recognize him until later. Bill Skarsgård was creepy as overtly religious father to young Arvin (Michael Banks Repeta).

Robert Pattinson was a bit too much over the top for me. His performance of the slimy preacher felt a little forced and too unrealistic for me.

The story is very dark and violent. While that alone is not a bad thing, this story feels so disjointed that, when it does eventually come together, it felt forced. It jumps all over the place and the narration does not bring it together effectively.

I did enjoy the performances and some of the characters were darkly effective, but The Devil All the Time has enough other drawbacks to make it a mixed bag.

2.8 stars 

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