The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★

Antonio Campos (Christine) wastes a potential great story and a committed ensemble of actors with an inconsistent, stale direction in The Devil All the Time. The film follows a young man confronting demons both figurative and literal form that threatens his family’s existence in a small-town Southern America. Almost half of all the actors are non-Americans playing Southern characters which I found to be oddly dismaying. Tom Holland, a miscast, but willfully commands a tricky and mature young character into the screen. The problem with the film is its didactic narration which simplifies the audience’s intelligence in figuring out the story’s overstuffed narrative. Campos’ stale focus emulates the bleak attitude of Lars von Trier, but he falls short of purposefully illustrating its grisly violence and psychological implications. William Friedkin might've been a good director for this. In the end, Devil is another proof of how great acting can’t elevate a mess that is this one. The potential is felt, but it could’ve been done better.

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