The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★½

Relentlessly grim, with a frustratingly counterproductive voice over. This feels like it suffered from studio-mandated compromises, even though Netflix's famously hands-off approach would seem to imply the opposite.

Probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me? No idea what happened here, or how this absolutely unfuckwithable cast got so stranded in this material. Even with the initial wave of mixed-to-bad reviews, I was optimistic this would be just another victim of the inexplicable Netflix effect (much like, say, Hold the Dark was), but unfortunately everyone's pretty much right about this thing.

This looks great. It's shot on 35mm, and you can tell. Pattinson and Holland - around whom the most compelling narrative storyline ultimately revolves - are both genuinely great, with Pattinson trying out an absolutely insane accent and Holland channeling Brokeback Mountain Heath Ledger at times.

But there's just no point to it all? What are we doing here, highlighting the hypocrisy of the Christianity-besotted rural American south? Get in line, buddy, you're preaching to the converted. Casting a bunch of non-American actors in key roles only serves to amplify how patronizing this ends up being, and it makes one long for the comparatively-palatable sense of obnoxious self-righteousness that suffused something like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Real "say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, dude, at least it's an ethos" vibes.