The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★

Donald Ray Pollock’s book The Devil All the Time is really weighty; it’s a twisted tale of interconnected people all linked by their innate badness and moral repugnance that makes for a very salacious read. it never for once waivers in its brutality, mixing religion and violence with a chilling command.

naturally, Antonio Campos’ adaptation works hard at achieving said levels of brutality and turbulence, and for the better part, it does. but this film version loses fervor by attempting to compress Pollock’s twisted tale into a straighter outline that fits in a two hour block. that Campos elected to make a film (rather than, say a limited series) does a disservice to the characters, who have little room to truly delve into their insanities. 

but the people behind the characters make do with what they’re given, and then some. Bill Skasgård, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, and Riley Keough devour their roles, disguising themselves as even the darkest demons born out of man’s wretchedness. Mia Wasikowska and Eliza Scanlen struggle with the criminally underwritten roles they’re given, but even they leave an impact that lasts the span of the entire movie. it leaves more to be desired — trailing off into needless subplots and empty characters — but The Devil All the Time comes equipped with a seat-edging plot and an ensemble that keeps you on your toes.

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