The Devil All The Time Review
September 20th, 2020
One of the most awaited and intriguing movies in recent times, The Devil All the Time finally released on Netflix on September 16th, 2020. Based on the famous book of the same name, the movie features an sprawling ensemble cast and a story that's about people in the Midwest fighting their own demons. Does the movie live upto the hype? Let's find out in this review.
A myriad of interconnected characters in the small town in the Midwest battle their inner demons, faith in God, and try to cleanse themselves of being sinners. What ensues is a tale of dark and disturbing events filled with spiders, serial killers, predatory instincts, and family.
As mentioned before, The Devil All the Time's biggest USP is the sprawling ensemble cast. These actors alone give the movie the necessary hype. It's so refreshing to see Marvel actors get out of their comfort zone and do other characters in different types of movies and Tom Holland absolutely blazes his role as Aarvin. The star who's usualy known for his high pitched American accent as Peter Parker completely changes gears and delivers a Southern accent that's very commendable. His performance in the church scene with Robert Pattinson is a testament to his ability as an actor and shows he has more range than just wearing a Spider suit all day.
Robert Pattinson seems to steal the show in every movie he's in and he's just exceptional as Pastor Preston Teagardin. The character is weird of the highest order and the way he portrays the predatory characterization is just AMAZING. His southern accent is also incredible and it's amazing how he can seamlessly shift from character to character and deliver amazing performances one after the other in each and every movie.
Bill Skarsgård is also incredible in his role with a convincing Southern accent and his performance holds the first 30 mins of the film. Tough to believe he's Swedish as he's also able to just seamlessly play character in any film.
Sebastian Stan is adequate in a role that was originally intended for Chris Evans but had to drop out due to scheudling conflicts. Hey if you can't get Captain America then just choose Bucky as a backup.
Elizabeth Scanlen is excellent as Lenora. Her scenes with Pattinson are a delight to watch and she has a very bright future as an actress.
Jason Clarke and Riley Keough are superb as well and get the most twisted characters and nail them to perfection with their acting.
Harry Melling best known as Dudely Dursley from Harry Potter delivers a stunning performance as a preacher with a shocking scene that sure to give you the chills in the beginning. It seems the casting director picked all the European actors he could find and make them speak in Southern accents cause all of them are flawless.
Mia Goth, Mia Wasikowska, Haley Bennett, Douglas Hodge, Tim Blake Nelson, Pokey LaFarge, and Zack Shires all do their parts very well. the acting in the movie is excellent all around and everybody does their job well with the utmost sincerity.
Direction by Antonion Campos is perhaps the biggest minus of the film. Despite extracting superb performances from his cast, Campos was unable to seamlessly blend the narrative into one cohesive movie and the result is a movie that's enjoyable in parts but doesn't feel satisfying as whole. The screenplay shifts from character to character with no clarity or sincere conlusion to an arc and it keeps moving back and forth which tests patience. It's not an anthology movie by any means where the different stories have to combine and make sense but when you have an interconnect world of characters and complexities, it should be a gripping and emotional journey but instead it's an exhausting and frankly boring ride half the time. The slow pace throughout is sure to put a lot of people off and Tom Holland and Pattinson do their best, but one has to say that Campos did not deliver in terms of execution and the movie takes way too long to get going and become engaging. Overall, Antonio Campos does a subpar job with the direction that leaves you with a feeling of wanting so much more in the end.
Music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans is excellent. The music and BGM compliment the story and overall mood of the film extremely well in every scene. Cinematography by Lol Crawley is AMAZING. The rich visuals and rustic setting of the Midwest towns, churches and forests are beautifully captured by the cinematographer. Movie is a VISUAL DELIGHT. Editing by Sofía Subercaseaux is adeqaute. The runtime is 138 mins and some parts are very boring but that's more the directors call in the end. Production Design by Craig Lathrop is OUTSTANDING. Whether is the cross located deep in a forest, Aarvin's house, or the Church where most of the characters attend, each and every set is beautifully designed and the aesthetic is amazing. Costumes by Emma Potter are superb. All the actors attire and costumes are very appealing throughout the movie especially Pattinson and Tom Holland. VFX by Richard Baker are fine. Stunts by Gary Ray Stearns are FANTASTIC. The movie's action sequences have the right amount of tension and grit that make them fun to watch. Lastly, Production Values by Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, Randall Poster, Max Born are AMAZING. Devil All The Time has a very rich look in terms of visuals and production and it reflects in each and every frame.
- Slow Pace
Netflix has a habit of releasing star studded movies on the streaming platform just due to the unpredictable theatrical market dominated by superheroes and franchise movies. When a movie like Devil All The Time is announced, expectations are guaranteed to be sky high due to the massive ensemble cast of so many talented actors in one movie. The results with ensembles are either Knives Out or something like Movie 43 which featured so many stars and was critically panned and became a disaster.
The Devil All The Time falls somehwere in the middle. It's not the worst movie nor is it amazing and it results in a strictly decent one time watch. The acting is phenomenal and so are the visuals and music but the execution is not upto the mark and the movie feels boring half the time. The movie is also very dark and depressing at times but the delve into the psyche of the insane and twisted definitely makes it compelling at times. It's a story with a lot of promise and intrigue but one has to say the execution falters and it could have been so much more in the end.
This movie is the definition of a "slow burner" meaning the story takes time to get going so if slow pace is something thay puts of you off, then this surely won't be ypur cup of tea. Pattinson and Tom Holland try their best, but unfortunately this ensemble drama is too much for them to save.
Overall, The Devil All The Time is a decent psychological drama. Despite outstadning performances from the cast and beautiful visuals throughout, the film is too slow and not engaging enough in the end. It's not everybody's cup of tea but it's sure to have its takers in the long run. You can watch it if you're a fan of Holland or Pattinson but make you sure you have plenty of energy. And patience.