‘The Devil All the Time’ Film Review: What Was the Point of It All?

“It Wasn’t That Bad, Mama”

Have you ever invested your time into something only for you to question the reason you did it in the first place? “The Devil All the Time” is a gruesome and slow-burning film that doesn’t know how to take off.

Overview

A young man tries to protect the ones he loves in a town full of cynical characters.

A Diamond in the Rough

Arvin (Tom Holland) delivers a very solid performance so much so that he’s missed while not on screen. His casting allowed for at least one character for audiences to really root for.

Most other characters are just not great people or just aren’t very interesting.

Falling Flat

None of the “villains” in this film justify their presence. Audiences will struggle to find any antagonists that they even understand. These characters are given no motivation and practically zero backstory. They just commit horrible deeds.

The only sort of exception would be the Rev. Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson) and only because of the actor’s performance. Any antagonist introduced is pretty early forgotten. Admittedly most of the characters just aren’t too memorable.

Sticking to its guns

Shortly into the film, you’ll learn that no one sticks around for long. Characters drop by flies throughout the movie so much it just becomes predictable.

The creators of “The Devil All the Time” do stick to their message that evil is everywhere. In the church, the police department and, just your everyday civilians. You’re beat over the head with it so much that it gets tiresome knowing the outcome of a scene as soon as it begins.

We’re waiting…

The pacing and length alone of this film makes it a pretty difficult watch. Over an hour into the picture not many events worth mentioning even occurred.

“The Devil All the Time” spends much of the film jumping around in time. Even if you’re paying attention it wouldn’t be surprising if you end up being confused.

From time to time the narrator will jump in to give exposition and it feels overabundant. A story shouldn’t need a narrator popping in often to explain what’s happening to the viewer. However, without that exposition most would just be lost throughout.

Conclusion

What was the point of it all? That’s the question that comes to mind as I watched the credits roll. From predictable conclusions to forgettable characters this film is a mess.

Even with a superb performance from Tom Holland, not even that can save this picture. The story goes everywhere and really loses the audience. Nothing feels like it happens organically just more events occur so that the plot can continue.

Evil is everywhere and throughout you’ll see that the story was written to emphasize that. Eventually, it feels insulting because of how many times they choose to share the same message.

Finally, the movie just felt too long. The same job could’ve been accomplished in significantly less time. That also would’ve allowed for more exciting moments and maybe a more focused plot.

Verdict 4.5 out of 10 Stars

4 thoughts on “‘The Devil All the Time’ Film Review: What Was the Point of It All?

    1. Yes. This seems to be an ongoing problem with streaming projects of late. Without the time constraints of a theater screening or the direct-to-video (DVD) marketplace, the brevity, which is part of the art of filmmaking, seems to have been lost. I’ve surely passed on a few films that, when I look at that running time . . . I move onto something else.

      Liked by 1 person

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