The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★★

Campos has such sophistication in his tonal work, and The Devil All The Time is a great example of that. The cast alone warrants a watch no matter the premise, Tom Holland gives one of his best performances to date, Bill Skarsgard is excellent, Sebastian Stan gave a very different approach than expected and Haley Bennett stood out within her screen time. 

My preconception for this was that it would be jumbled in narrative with an over abundance in characters. While that as a criticism could definitely still be made, Campos’ methodical approach to this twisty multi narrative worked brilliantly. It’s more straightforward as a narrative than expected, there’s limited use of flashback and it’s mostly told in a linear format, but the darkness of the characters and somber tone make the film feel wholly original, while also reminding me of something the Coen Brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson would make (at times). The film was constantly renovated with various and consistent twists that help glue together the narrative and further the film’s enigma. 

The narration works very well, mainly due to the consistency of it and how it’s written to imply sophistication and not campiness. The score is fitting and different, the cinematography is excellent and the production design is superb. 

Some scenes and characters in eventuality seem unimportant, and add more to the spectacle than the narrative. That may change after a rewatch, which is warranted. It undoubtedly would be stronger as a miniseries, having longer to expand on these relationships would certainly add to the effectiveness of the darker elements of the film. The script isn’t the strongest, it often alters from being brief to being broad. It’s a film that I can’t wait to rewatch, on first viewing it seems less complex than it is ominous, and it’s ominousness is what kept me involved throughout.

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