The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★★

Quickie Review 
From the pages of the acclaimed novel by Donald Ray Campbell (who also serves as narrator) and from acclaimed director Antonio Campos and producer Jake Gyllenhaal, Netflix presents an all-star cast in a riveting and intense Southern Gothic thriller where sin, death and devastation all meet. Tracing back to a deeply religious and increasingly troubled war veteran (Bill Skarsgård) and going all the way into the era of the Vietnam war, the story follows young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he devotes himself to protect those he loves in a backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality and colliding with numerous characters of a gray moral standing, from a preacher (Robert Pattinson) who might be less than pious to a couple (Jason Clarke & Riley Keough) who lure strangers to photograph them and kill them afterwards to the town sheriff (Sebastian Stan) who is bending and fracturing the very law he swore to protect. The film is steeped in darkness and explores themes of faith and violence, all wrapped up in a southern fried blend of drama and suspense with stunning cinematography and exceptional performances from its ensemble cast, especially from Holland & Pattinson, who really go against the grain with their performances. Ever since Holland broke through with the role of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, everyone tried to pigeonhole him as this excitable young guy eager to help but he shatters that stereotype with such a remarkable and revelatory turn and maybe during this unusual awards season where everyone is beating the same damn dead horse with the same old stupid “bIrDs Of pReY fOr BeSt PiCtUrE” joke, his performance might cut through that noise and show that he’s more than just everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. As for Pattinson’s performance, the moment his character appears onscreen, you know that he is one slimy man of false faith but he has such a pull about him that you can’t look away, even when he’s spouting this clichéd fire & brimstone sermon before turning around and doing something sinister and abhorrent. That’s the power of Pattinson as an actor, that he can hook you in as he portraying such an awful human being. The Devil All the Time is a dark dramatic thriller that’s not the easiest of watches but if you want to experience an unsettling but beautifully shot and brilliantly acted southern gothic tale, then definitely give this one a look.

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