The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★★

This is the first film I’ve seen by Antonio Campos and it certainly won’t be my last. 

There’s something about the brutal back country thriller/mystery genre that hits the right chords for me. Maybe it’s the ironic use of religious folk music or the despicable, irredeemable characters, but there are very few films set in a location and era like this where I don’t at least enjoy myself and The Devil All the Time is no exception. Fulled by phenomenal performances (seriously, I don’t think there’s a missing link), a sweet-on-the-ears soundtrack, gorgeous cinematography, and a story that I found to be thoroughly engaging (for me at least). The main theme of the film is religion and how it can overtake us and drag us to dark and unforgivable places due to blind faith and while the theme is heavily thrown at us, it’s also a theme I like. Being Jewish myself, I’ve been fascinated, yet reserved and cautious about religion and stories like this prove my fear. It’s quite a scary and overwhelming concept and I found the way that it infected certain characters was quite entertaining. So many stories weave around this concept and I was transfixed by them.

Unfortunately, and I understand that most people have this issue, there’s a quite a bit of narration and pretty much none of it compliments or enhances the story in anyway. Everything said only overstates what I was already thinking and it only made everything so much more obvious and unsubtle. While this is easily the worst aspect of the film, that didn’t make me any less interested in the story at hand.

 This is a very grim, disturbing, dirty, and difficult tale and it often doesn’t shy away from the subject matter at hand. It’s violent, unforgiving, and tragic in so many compelling ways. But if there’s a reason to seek this out, it’s the performances; they’re all stunning and each actor just sinks into their role and their over-the-top accents (especially Pattinson, my GOD was he entertaining to listen to). I personally liked this a lot and I hope to watch it and Campos’ other work in the near future.

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