The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★½

While I enjoyed the movie I couldn’t help but find the narrative painfully average. I can’t really comment on how the movie holds up as an adaptation however the movie is definitely paced like a novel as compared to a movie. The pieces come together in the end as you would come to expect from a novel, that being said if you’re following the plot you can predict how it plays out especially in the third act.

The directing is pretty good with each shot being used effectively and the atmosphere accurately representing what’s going on. The editing however is a different story. I can’t help but feel it could’ve been better especially in the beginning when we’re first being introduced to our characters. The pacing also suffers considerably since it’s an adaptation. The narrator does not help with this at all. I’ve seen films that utilize narrators throughout the film more effectively than this one. Mostly because he’s used to explain how characters are feeling or thinking as opposed to showing us. It definitely seems like he’s reading straight from the novel as well. Take for example the scene in the end where Sandy is in the car with Arvin, we’re explicitly told what she’s thinking when it should have been set up and familiar to us beforehand. The script is littered with situations like this.

Acting ranges from impressive to serviceable, Tom Holland and Bill Skarsgård are really great in this movie however there is a giant coat of non-authenticity throughout this whole film. I don’t believe Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan or Riley Keough come from this small, backwater, hillbilly town and this is coming from someone who’s lived in small, backwater, hillbilly town. It very much came off as an excuse for these Hollywood celebrities to practice their hillbilly drawl.

The thing that bothered me most however has to do with how much speculation I had to make throughout the film. I’d prefer a 3 hour film if it means we understand how Arvin comes to his conclusion about Reverend Teagardin in the third act or how Bodecker knew where Arvin was in the end rather than rushing through the story to get our payoffs.

I would recommend reading the book because the source material seems interesting enough while also being reminiscent of The Place Beyond the Pines however didn’t translate as seamlessly to the screen as you may have expected.

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