claira curtis’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The Lord can do anything... if you just ask Him right.”
If there’s any one feeling that The Devil All the Time has left me with, it’s that I need to get my hands on the book this is an adaptation of as soon as possible. There is, truthfully, more I can identify as flaws over points of praise in this sprawling epic. However, I’ll keep those brief because truthfully, in the end, I enjoyed this watch quite a bit. As plenty of others before me have mentioned, this has the unfortunate phenomena of possessing all the right elements but molded into the wrong shape.
What I do love though, and what has me so interested in the book now, is the overarching themes throughout. Religion is both the glue holding these characters together and the knife tearing them apart. Corruption is not only a possibility but an absolute. Morality is inherently flimsy, shifting endlessly as we encounter each character’s perspectives and rationale. While a lot of things don’t work well, the exploration of the hypocrisy of religious purity is done extremely well. As a radically progressive, deconstructioned “Christian” (I think a more accurate term would be spiritual), I’m always really drawn to media that explores the dark underbelly of religious fervor, so naturally, even at its worst moments, I was thoroughly enjoying the discussion that The Devil All the Time is bringing to the table.
I found myself quite frequently thinking back on Mudbound, and not just because Jason Clarke stars as a central figure in both stories. While different in their motivations and execution, there is a common sense of instinctual desperation. Survival is absolutely crucial and must be obtained by any means necessary.
Grim. Brutal. Unmerciful. Demented. At its worst, a messy glimpse of something too big to chew. At its best, a punch to the gut of faith driven violence.
“Don’t act like you do nothing wrong.”