The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★½

Ultimately, I think this is pretty thin on the ground for a film that is desperately trying to be a gothic thriller with novelistic depth. The characters are all flat and the setting is criminally bland and underused. Campos never quite wrangles together the threads and the jumping round through time and character focus means nothing can really develop properly.

It gets moving a little when Pattinson and Holland start to clash. I found that these were the two strongest performances and characters in the film by a distance (Keough is also good in her limited screen-time). The first seven hours or so, however, are quite a drag. By contrast, the final three hours are propulsive and refreshingly cutthroat. I've no issue with a slow burn mosaic of interweaving lives, but at least make the lives entertaining throughout.

A lot of this could be forgiven if the narration had been omitted. Everything else I appreciate as an attempt at nihilistic maximalism, a sort of swinging for the fences situation gone a little awry, but the narration is awful and gives the characters no space for breath or complexity. Had they been afforded that, my rating would be a fair bit higher.

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