The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time ★★½

A Faulknerian Southern gothic yarn that like the works of the aforementioned writer builds a story of various characters, with a back and forth jumping chronology, who all end up converging by the end of the tale. By Faulknerian I mean that the story contains many elements similar to the author's dark, Southern dramas like 'Sanctuary' and 'Light in August': the shady criminals, the irreligious preachers, and the bleak handling of abuse and death, although in the case of 'The Devil All the Time' these are all much more explicit and overblown, however Antonio Campos's star-studded film, with all its over-the-top thrills, lacks crucially the substance of a Faulkner tale, with 1 dimensional, superficial characters and no nuance in how it explores most of these cardboard cut out players in the narrative. Obviously the lack of any real character depth is a big failing for a film like this, and without it you're left with a pretty trashy B movie that just so happens to feature some of Hollywood's top A lister actors. The cinematography has a nice grainy, 60s quality to it that I really admired, and it was shot handsomely, although the spectre of 'Miller's Crossing' looms large, and you can't help feeling that a lot of the film just lacks originality in how it's made, particularly in the case of the soundtrack which apes Carter Burwell's fantastic score of the aforementioned Coens masterpiece. It's not all bad though, there were sections I liked, and it was watchable (well most of it: parts were just too grim for my tastes), and it's boosted by a scene stealing performance from Robert Pattinson, who really is on a roll right now. His disturbing Reverend Teagardin feels like a younger version of Robert Mitchum's character from 'Night of the Hunter', only even more evil than that, and Pattinson absolutely nails the accent! Not all the performances are good, and the characters are severely lacking, but if you're a Holland and Pattinson fan its still worth the price of admission.

Henry liked these reviews