George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
2020 Releases Ranked-HERE
The Devil All the Time is a 2020 American psychological thriller directed and co-written by Antonio Campos and starring an incredible cast that includes: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Robert Pattinson, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen and Mia Wasikowska.
Heading into The Devil All the Time it was my second most anticipated film of the year and if I’m honest, I really didn’t know why. The cast looked absolutely amazing and the first trailer absolutely killed it for me yet I don’t know why I was so excited for this film as I tried to know as little as I could. Despite this, I’m pleased to say, despite others opinions, I really enjoyed this one.
The Devil All the Time is a bleak, challenging and powerful look at religious fanaticism in post war America and how certain beliefs can impact the way people look at life. I won’t lie, despite the slightly negative buzz around this film from my friends I enjoyed the hell out of it. The dark-slow score fitted the films vibe perfectly and really helped the somber overtone work wonders for me. The psychological aspect also worked really well for me as the film shows how a post war little American Christian town can interpret the bible in their own different ways for their own devilish reasons.
However, The Devil All the Time isn’t without it’s problems. At just near 2 1/4 hours it can sometimes feel slightly longer than it should do, but as it goes on its still great to see all of the interconnecting storylines weave together. The only real disappointments I have is the lack of brutality and Jason Clarke’s performance. If you go into the film expecting an immense amount of brutality, you’ll be slightly disappointed. However, if you sit down and relish in the incredibly interesting (for me) plot lines then the lack of brutality won’t disappoint you as much. Now, whilst Jason Clarke’s performance was good, it just felt like they could have done so much more to develop his characters background and intentions better as by the end of the film, I ultimately didn’t understand why he was like that and that did slightly hinder my experience.
Despite that flaw, of course the thing people will love about this film is the incredible ensemble cast. First off, our “main character” Arvin Russell, played by Tom Holland, was incredibly intoxicating to watch whenever he’s on screen. His performances and screen presence is undoubtedly one of the standouts aspects of this film and the attitude that his character has, how he'll protect his family at all costs, is truly brilliant to watch. On top of that, Robert Pattinson also gave a phenomenal performance that fitted incredibly well in the film despite his limited time. His style of almost overacting gave every scene he was in that much more of a kick which eventually leads to the scene he shares with Tom Holland becoming one of the most best, most powerful scenes of the year for me. Now, I would love to get into details about Bill Skarsgård‘s incredibly powerful performance, Sebastian Stan’s corrupt sheriff and Riley Keough‘s devilish attitude but for now all I’ll say is that each actor/actress‘s performance worked incredibly well for me and that fact they each got their time to shine really worked wonders for the film.
Whilst the narration fell slightly flat at times, despite it being by the actual author Donald Ray Pollock, The Devil All the Time is, for me, undoubtedly a brilliant film. The interwoven storylines managed to draw me further into the film the more I watched as well as the score, dark tone and performances being almost perfect for the vibe the director went for. This is undoubtedly one of my favourites of the year thus far and one I highly recommend to anyone that loves a more somber film. I’m beginning to think slow paced films like this really work for me!