When I think of The Devil All The Time, several things come to mind. None of those things are the story, which works several threads, all touched by sadness and evil, together by the film’s end.
Based on the book of the same name, it’s author Donald Pollock turns narrator for the cinematic version. His low drone perfectly encapsulates the tale he’s telling – unyielding, somewhat sympathetic, but resigned.
It’s fair to say that The Devil All The Time isn’t kind when it comes to religion. But that’s not something I lingered on watching it. Instead what I found interesting is how good a job it does of scrubbing away some squeaky clean acting skins.
Tom Holland comes away with the most praise, miles away from Peter Parker. There’s an intensity here that is only was hinted at in his most well-known role; without it the film would fail.
Robert Pattinson is always interesting. How he carries himself and how he communicates can change so much from role to role. The more I see of him the more confident I am in how he’ll give us an interesting Batman/Bruce Wayne. Predatory in all the worst ways, with a higher pitched yet commanding voice, he’s odd but memorable.
The ensemble cast all strive to display the depths people can sink to, and what some are willing to do ‘in the name of the Lord’. They all deserve credit for the nuance they bring.
The Devil All The Time is not a fun film, or enjoyable, or nice. Each character is a mixture of broken, alone, unfortunate, and evil. It doesn’t move at a fast pace, though it it never drags, punctuated by violence. But it does draw you in, even if it’s to see just how much worse things can get.