Film Review: The Devil All the Time

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The Winonan’s film reporter gives this movie 5/5 stars.

Noah Mruz, Film Reviewer

We all know this year sucks. It’s not a strange or original thought to say this is not the year anyone planned on, but it is always a relief to take a break from the world with a selection from Netflix. Sometimes we need a moment of levity, maybe binging “The Office” again before it leaves Netflix! Another option is watching an old classic like “Mulan” or “The Lion King”, or even their recent Disney ‘reimagining’s’. Or maybe you want to replace the stresses of your everyday life with the stresses of a young man dealing with some truly evil people in 1965. That last one is a little specific but ask and you shall receive. In this case the film is Antonio Campos’s “The Devil Al-” What’s that? You also want to make sure it includes a Spiderman AND a Batman? Well maybe don’t interrupt me because my answer is still the same. Antonio Campos’s “The Devil All the Time”, a wonderful yet trying tale that will entrance you and make you completely forget the stresses of the world today for a few hours. The film stars Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan  and Robert Pattinson in a suspense-filled psychological thriller. This is no horror film, but you will be more on edge in this Netflix Original than almost any horror film you can find today. The film is masterfully compelling with a wonderful story and enthralling characters that bring you joy and invite you to care about them, despite some committing true atrocities.

The film tells the story of seven individuals, all strung together through the life of Arvin Russel, played by Tom Holland. After a tough upbringing, our flawed protagonist deals with a battle that his father unknowingly passed to him- fighting with the devil all the time. Holland does a masterful job bringing the complexities and heartaches of Russel to life in his subtle and compelling acting. Keough and Stan both do an excellent job playing characters with seemingly good hearts committing evil acts, some worse than others.

The film also does an excellent job of creating a strong tension between good and evil. Nearly every scene showcases a balance between those with light in their heart, and those without light. Once that balance is disrupted, disaster is always in its wake. This showcasing of balance is also brought upon by the film’s narrator. Although not in the film often, the narrator brings a valuable insight that make some moments more heart wrenching, enlightening, heartwarming, heart breaking and often times all of those things in just a few short sentences.

“The Devil All the Time” has a truly chilling message to it: that those with good intent and endless optimism are bound to fall victim to the devil. The film constantly tells the viewer that if they put their faith whole heartedly and entirely into those that are there to protect them and guide them to safety, their faith will be taken advantage of and selfishly used by those intent on satisfying only themselves.

“The Devil All the Time” is a wonderful, compelling and depressing film that will keep you captivated from start to finish. Featuring a cast that brings the story to life with care and focus and a message that will chill you just before Halloween, this film is truly something special to experience. I am giving this movie a deserving 5/5 stars.