The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★½

the devil all the time isn't afraid to go to some deeply disturbing places, and in actual fact the movie doesn't go more than a few minutes between sequences which involve murder, mutilation, sexual abuse, and so on.

it is not a happy date night movie, but it is a story which transcends mere grimness for its own sake, getting deep down in the trenches with its characters and delivering an engrossing morality tale that's well worth the ick. the movie refuses to shy away from its more unpleasant narrative turns - or its frequently shocking violence - though also never deigns to crass, unmotivated exploitation.

antonio campos pulls the camera back as to never upstage the actors, lingering long on their expressive performances rather than distracting with fancy directorial flourishes. the movie is plenty stylish all the same, yet in a way that compliments the bleak, stark tone of the story and characters within it. in addition to campos' meticulous direction, the devil all the time also happens to be one of best-looking films of the entire year, thanks to a beautiful lensing job from dp lol crawley. crawley takes full advantage of the ohio setting's natural beauty, juxtaposed against the overwhelming ugliness of the story, to create a lived-in picture of a small town bubbling with corruption and evil.

some of the aspects i didnt like -- although the narration isn't frequent or intrusive enough to truly irritate, it does make too much of an effort to tell the audience everything the characters are doing or thinking, rather than simply letting viewers think on it for themselves.

given that the plot isn't terribly complicated despite its penchant for time-hopping, there really wasn't any need for pollock to interrupt the airy atmosphere and make sure the audience is keeping up.

another thing, it's lowkey disappointing that mia wasikowska and haley bennett are both largely wasted on small, even throwaway roles which feel more like extended cameos.

also thought the movie could've been tightened up by having 10-15 minutes cut, much of it from act one.

these gripes aside, though, the movie is quite satisfying, and for anyone feeling that 2020 has been rather lacking in visceral thrillers so far, the devil all the time absolutely has you covered

ps: also you heard it right, robert pattinson & tom holland steal the show

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