The Devil All the Time ★★★★

I’ll be honest, I might not have watched this if it weren’t for my infatuation with Tom Holland…I’ll keep the simping to a minimum.

Really though, this was a damn solid movie, especially for something that came out of Netflix - I’m looking at you Kissing Booth. Plot-wise it can feel a little slow and it lacks an overarching voice and/or message, but, from what I interpreted it’s about karma and the toxic sides of religion, masculinity, and the abuse of power that comes with both. While individually these topics are well-written and thrilling to watch, it sometimes feels like they were juggling a little too many topics at once. None the less, it's an enjoyable watch and that is in no small thanks to its incredible performances, I mean, what a damn talented cast. As an avid viewer of Tom Holland, this is hands down one of my favourite performances from him, it’s clear he wanted to push his acting abilities and oath has he done it - Arvin’s inner turmoil and unfiltered rage are portrayed by Tom flawlessly, his raw acting talent is truly on display here. Meanwhile, Robert Patterson is as great to watch as always, he plays maniacal so well and it’s these darker roles of his that make me look forward to his depiction of Batman. Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, and Eliza Scanlen star in smaller roles but standout all the same, Eliza continues to impress after her very memorable part in Sharp Objects.

The Devil All The Time can be pretty ruthless, I found myself cringing at spiders, jumping at gunshots, and recoiling at some other pretty gnarly imagery. Admittedly though all the brutality is worth it, filmmaker Antonio Campos manages to create such a tense environment for viewers, but it’s so necessary for this bleak and violent story. Perhaps one of my favourite quirks of this film, we are told the tale of The Devil All The Time from multiple perspectives, different characters whose paths diverge and falter regularly throughout the film. It’s really great watching it all come together to create this bigger picture. When their stories eventually tie and meet, they explode into an intense and heart-stopping encounter…before fizzling out into a somewhat anti-climactic ending.

All in all, this was a really great watch and it has a lot of charms and amazing performances, but it felt like it lacked meaning and as if it was saying a whole bunch but nothing at the same time.

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