Review: The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time (2020)

Director: Antonio Campos

Writers: Antonio and Paulo Campos

Starring: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, and Robert Pattinson

Plot: A small town teenager is brought into a web of broken souls, dirty preachers, and serial killers.

Review: The best way I could find to describe The Devil All the Time is “Coen Brothers lite”. Now, that might sound like an insult but I promise it’s not. I have great respect and love for the Coen brothers. So, invoking their name is a pretty high compliment. And, The Devil All the Time definitely earns it too. If you’re into movies like Fargo or No Country for Old Men, I think you’re going to enjoy this one too. Of course, don’t forget that I purposely put the “lite” on there. This isn’t as good as those movies, but it feels very similar (with the humor toned down dramatically).

I really loved how big The Devil All the Time felt. This is a movie with just a ton of plot in it. Tom Holland’s role is unquestionably our main character, but we probably only spend maybe a fourth of the movie with him. In fact, we don’t even see Holland until 47 minutes in. This is a huge story. It’s one of those tales that reaches out in a bunch of different directions before bringing everything back together in the end. It’s expertly done too. Each story and character is memorable. By the end, you really get a feel for the heft behind each character’s decision. You end up knowing these people inside and out. That makes the climax pay off even more than it already would’ve too. It’s kind of like if Game of Thrones had a more satisfying ending and was about a bunch of low income Midwesterners. (Sorry. I hadn’t dissed Game of Thrones in a couple months and needed to get it out.)

Of course, a good plot can only get you so far. You need a talented cast to really sell it. And, boy, does The Devil All the Time have an amazing group of actors. Up and down the cast list is super impressive, big-ish names that are known for being incredibly talented. They deliver too. Seriously, this movie is filled to the brim with great performances. Every single one sells the plight of their characters brilliantly. Like I said before, you can really feel what these people are going through and why they’re making the choices they are, even if you disagree with them.

All of the cast deserves as much praise as they can get but I’ve got to give a special callout to two actors in particular. Tom Holland killed it. This is the biggest serious role I’ve seen him in yet and it’s fantastic. He’s got a lot of baggage and heartbreak to carry around for the entire movie and nails it to a devastating degree. And, then, there’s Robert Pattinson. What can I say? The dude is so incredibly versatile. In this, we get to see his dark side as he plays the creepy, asshole preacher. There’s one sermon in particular that is just slimey and gross, especially in the context for why he’s delivering it. It had my skin crawling. It’s no surprise that both of these dudes are super talented, but it’s nice to see two actors at the top of their game continue to bring it time and again.

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed The Devil All the Time. There were a couple of times where I was wondering why we were following certain characters, but everything came together super well in the end. It feels like an epic, even if it’s not world ending stuff. These characters and their stories will stick with me for quite a while. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for just a ton of really good stories that come together to create something even better.

TL;DR: The Devil All the Time is quite ambitious in it’s storytelling, which pays off with a satisfying ending and great acting.

Score: 7/10 (Good)

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