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“The Devil All the Time” Review

The Devil All the Time starts from the very beginning where the narrator explains this tale as different people living near each other in West Virginia and how they are connected by conflicts. Set between 1945 and 1965 a time where the U.S. ended one war and decades later proceeded into another war. This film was written and directed by Antonio Campos which was adapted from the 2011 novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, who also serves a role as the narrator we hear throughout the film.

It does have a slow start but understandably that is just to explain some character background and leading up to the further narrative. It goes back and forth between each set of characters until they all end up encountering each other along the way. This also focuses on a heavy religious theme throughout the film. Displaying no matter how religious someone can be, there is still evil within them and how they carry themself.

The film does have a wide variety of different actors but Tom Holland steals the show, Holland plays our anti-hero, Arvin Russell who lived with his grandparents from a young age. We see his character as a young man who cares for his family and resorts to violence in order to protect them. Like his father, they both struggle to side with religion until at a certain point they end up needing to pray. Holland’s character reminded me of the closed-off character Travis from Taxi Driver (1976). Where both characters are protagonists but lose the sense of humanity while on their journey for vengeance.

Holland goes up against the new Preacher in town who is played by Robert Pattinson. We learn that this devilish preacher stirs up trouble in the town, and fatally affects Arvin’s family. Though both of these characters do not interact much, the scene that they are in together puts the film altogether. At that point, the sinister corruption of the town meets its match and the audience should know that they are in for more action.

Pattinson’s preacher also has a high pitched southern accent, and it is good to know that Campos originally wanted to have an accent coach on set. Pattinson refused and when he showed up on set with the accent needed for the character, this just shows the study he underwent by going out to hear the legitimate southern accents and further practicing his own.

Overall the narrative plays out and the film ends on a somewhat optimistic note as the dust settles. Honestly at a full circle ending based on how where the character will move onto. As the narration mentions it almost feels like it is moving back and forth between time because of how we started with Arvin’s father coming back from the war and possibly for another character considering going into war in the end.

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