The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★½

Felt like a young adult version of popular misery dramas like, "Baby's First Safdie Bros." or "My Little Zahler" where a whole bunch of nasty characters are nasty to each other. All the pretty young British and Australian boys and girls show up to play deep south caricatures in dirty clothes, with their shaky accents walking the verbal Mason-Dixon line between "cartoony" and "fine, whatever."

Tom Holland's dad is crazy, cause the war made him crazy. He tried to be nice, but the Lord wouldn't let him. Eliza Scanlen's dad is crazy because the Lord made him crazy. Her mom tried to be nice, but her dad wouldn't let her. Other characters aren't so lucky, they don't have real reasons for being as bad as they are. They are serial killers, and mobsters, and crooked cops, and statutory raping preachers because...well, because they had the misfortune of being in this story, I guess. I never had any care for anyone because it never felt like anyone ever really asked me for any.

The most egregious mistake the movie makes is including the narration. I'm not bothered by a proper narrator being the knitter of a story's varied threads, making sure they all come together as a cohesive sweater that you'll still put in your closet and never wear (or get rid of, for some reason), but this has a REQUIRED narrator. There are multiple scenes where the narrator gives, otherwise untold, NECESSARY PLOT INFORMATION! I'm not personally cool with that sort of thing, and it only makes the characters seem even less important than they already do.

I am going to make a sad admission here, though. It's no mistake that I'm a MCU mark, and this hurts me to say because it's almost an acknowledgment of the danger that those kinds of franchise behemoth films have on the movie industry as a whole: I see a lot of the reviews for this film mentioning the super side-jobs a majority of this film's stars hold. I had to make a conscious effort to not do it myself. It's just too delicious to not mention a dramatic Spider-Man/Batman showdown or a heated disagreement between Pennywise and the Winter Soldier when trying to...well, dammit. See? I don't feel like I need to explain the danger of this to anyone reading this. Especially you, famous Letterbox'd lurker, Michael Keaton.

Tl;dr: People cried and killed and died and drew out their vowels for just over 2 hours, and then it was over.

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