The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★½

Going in, I didn't know anything about The Devil All the Time other than the fact that it had a stacked cast. I didn't know what to expect from the actors, nor from the film itself, but I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.

The Devil All the Time is a violent look at hypocrisy and religion, telling multiple intertwining stories. As it's usually the case with films like this, some stories are more rounded than others and offer more for the viewer to latch on to. The most fascinating story was the one of Tom Holland's Arvin Russell. That's because we get to see Tom Holland's quippy self pushed to his limits and deliver a quiet and brooding performance, so unlike his iconic role. This is very smart casting, playing on the conflicting nature of the story: there's sympathy to be had for him and for his motives, but how far should that sympathy go?

The rest of the stories aren't as fascinatingly gray as Arvin's, as the film gives us little reason to sympathize with the rest of the morally "questionable" bunch, but that doesn't mean that the other actors don't have anything to work with. Each of them is at the top of the game, especially Robert Pattinson who shines alongside Tom. He may never win a fist fight, but he sure knows how to deliver his lines in an over-the-top manner that stays with you. With his delightfully detestable nature, he makes every scene he is in his.

While this is a very well-acted and engaging film, I'm not entirely sure of what to take away from it. It doesn't do anything that hasn't been done before nor is there something groundbreaking about its message. Ultimately, I think I'm where I was before I watched it: it's worth a watch for the cast.

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