Hunter ᴴᴰ’s review published on Letterboxd:
Have you ever wonder why so many famous authors come from the American South? O’Connor. Twain. Tennessee Williams. Morrison. Harper and Capote. I could keep going like sprawling farmland. It’s stories. Every southern town has them and like every town some they’d like to bury deep. These rumors and stories aren’t how they are able to gather stories to write. It’s more of why they write.
The Devil All the Time is a narrated melodrama covered in a dark veneer of violence and mud. The film follows the chain of events of a broad assemble of broken characters clinging to faith or evil. The slow buildup gripped me into the unconventional timeline of the multigenerational cycle of violence leaving me highly engaged to find the resolution through the stories of the characters. Although, the flow of singular events left me wanting more impactful emotions more than just how everyone’s luck is terrible and are poor at decision making. The narrations, acted by the rich voice of the author, provides the hardest force of pathos that without it there would only be an orthodox ‘and then this happened, and then this’ film with above average performances.
The cast is a good reason to watch and for many being the only reason why they would watch it. Most of the cast were miscasted due to age or prominently more European features. Great acting and actors. Just not fitting for greater potential of the film’s script. Tom Holland took the spotlight for me with this being his introduction into what people call “meatier” or “dramatic” roles. Nice touch with the sponge or chew or whatever in side of his mouth. That shows some deeper thinking in his craft and that’s what I wanted to see. I’m excited for what types of films he will do and hopes he takes a similar path as Jake Gyllenhaal, a producer of the film, in more unconventional roles. Robert Pattinson’s pretty good, and sometimes distracting, squeaky accent were also in the foreground of the acting. The female actors did great for what their characters were given and that’s not a lot. They were mostly used to service the men’s story. Mia Wasikowska one day you will get utilized properly. One day.
Overall, I really did like The Devil All the Time. The biggest issue for me is the dramatic elements were edging me without any real memorable payoff that goes past the events happening in the film. It was just missing one piece of the cinematic puzzle, but I’m not sure what that piece is exactly. Once you get past a small initial hump you can’t help but be transfixed by the journey. A highly entertaining and enjoyable experience.