The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★★★

"some people are born just to be buried".

This quote sums up the devil all the time perfectly. It's a story about people, good people still do some bad, and bad people who do some good. It is a realistic, human film I think everyone can relate to in some way. Written by Antonio and Paulo Campos and brilliantly directed by Antonio this is one of the best films of 2020 so far. I've been keeping my eye on Antonio Campos since I saw simon killer a few years ago and I think this is his best film yet.

The devil all the time is a very well crafted film with beautiful shots riddled throughout. It is technically great. The editing to keep each story flowing in a way that is engaging and makes sense is fantastic. The cinematography is amazing, I love the long takes, I love the wide shots, I love every single shot in this film, it's stunning. The first thing I noticed was the score, the score is used very well and so is the soundtrack. Both the score and soundtrack were terrific.

I love the story being told, on the surface it's about the first eighteen years of Arvin Russell's life. But it's more than that, it's about religion, it's about family, it's about growing up, it's about grief and it's about manipulation, how people can be manipulated and how people can manipulate. Everyone in this story is manipulative at some point or another, some more blatantly than others. Everyone is manipulative except for Arvin, his step-sister Charlotte and his grandparents. Arvins dad Willard manipulates Arvin into religion and Preston Teagardin manipulates girls into sleeping with him. But most of all, everyone in the story is manipulated by God, more specifically religion, except for Arvin. People go to extreme lengths to please God and show God that they are worthy. Growing up in a christian family I can confirm that people do go to extreme lengths to do what they believe they must do. No one around me has ever done anything so severe, but it happens nonetheless. I should add I don't think this film is derogatory to religion or christianity, I think it is just a interesting way to tell this story and present the themes at the same time. I don't want this review to drag on for too long but the themes of this film are very complex and interesting, I could talk for a long time about them.

The characters are complex and feel like real people. They are, like the rest of the film, very well written and interesting but most of all they are all entertaining to watch. I loved getting to see so many different perspectives on different situations, it gave the audience an understanding of the people we consider bad, this rarely happens and I am always very glad when it does.

I have but one kind of big complaint about this film and honestly I don't know it matters all that much. I think this story is impossible to tell without a narrator, but unnecessary narration is something that really bugs me. It was used well most of the time, but when the narrator tells the audience exactly what certain characters are thinking it annoys me. I mentioned I don't know if this criticism matters very much. This is simply because I don't think the film would have improved without the narrator saying what characters thought. I think it would have bugged me less but made for a worse overall experience. I have a few smaller issues as well, there was one flashback that was very unnecessary and was only used to remind the audience about what happened earlier. There were a few moments where the CGI was distracting. And the pie that was left at the Russell family's doorstep had no note or anything saying who sent it, obviously this is extremely minor, just a little thing that irked me.

Finally I'd like to acknowledge the action scenes. All of them are remarkable and particularly intense. Arvin's encounter with Preston is one of the more intense scenes I've watched for a while. During these scenes I am really worried about the characters involved. They were excellently executed and I was impressed by them.

Overall I loved the devil all the time and recommend it to everyone. So far it is my second favourite film of 2020 only topped by Charlie Kaufman's I'm thinking of ending things, a near perfect movie in my opinion. I'll be surprised if anything is better than that film by the end of the year.

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