Going to the cinema is not as appealing as it was before in the season of pandemic. Movie buffs everywhere now had to get their film fixes elsewhere, with nary a cinema not affected by the great change.
Thankfully Netflix is not just a place to watch great serials and old cheesy movies. Netflix’s original productions have been steadily getting better, with a helping hand from Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman on Netflix being the largest hit just last year. This year, “The Devil All The Time” wants to take that helm with a star-studded cast. But to us, it just fell a little short.
The Devil All The Time stars Tom Holland (Spiderman: Far From Home), Robert Pattinson (The Batman), Bill Skarsgård (IT), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: Winter Soldier), Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys) and is directed by Antonio Campos. Like I said earlier, a star-studded cast.
The story deals with sin and corruption in the most disturbing way possible that doesn’t churn your stomach inside out. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, years after WW2, the movie follows the protagonist, Arvin (Tom Holland), on how he came to be the way he is and his skeptical nature of people. Despite me calling Arvin the protagonist of this story, his journey is only one of many stories that messily collide to form an interwoven story that didn’t not pay off as well as intended.
*Not a spoiler review – we will not be touching on individual character plot points!*
The interwoven story nature was really well done and easy to follow, you do not get lost easily, especially when the movie dedicates a good hour of the movie run time to focus on the character backstory. From Act 2 onwards, the movie starts picking up on the main plot detail and goes full swing.
One big problem I have is the movie felt a tad too draggy. Some of the character arcs, like Sheriff Lee Bodecke, Sebastian Stan’s character. While his story arc is needed to convey the theme of sin that Antonio Campos set out to do, it could have been axed out for a shorter, more well-paced & enjoyable movie experience.
The acting in this movie is something of greatness. Majority of the cast were not Southern Americans, but their accent is convincing! (At least, to a Singaporean) It really does pull you into a rural Southern American setting in the 60s. Tom Holland and Robert Pattison were particularly outstanding in this movie.
Thematically speaking, The Devil All the Time delves into the dark side of human nature and the darkness everyone was capable of. Almost every character has a dark secret that was exploitative and selfish and downright cruel. It was very well done and doesn’t glorify nor tries to sugarcoat it. The great build up only let to a subpar ending. Although it was satisfying, but it didn’t realise the full potential of its narrative setups.
Overall, the movie had a fresh and interesting narrative, and was well-acted, well presented. But the pacing and the payoff is ultimately the one cinematic sin holding this movie back from greatness. I’ll give The Devil All the Time a Brutal Approved.
The Devil All the Time
Great acting, great plot line and beautifully shot. But slow pacing at time felt draggy and pulled us out of immersion.