In a backwoods Ohio town, a young man with an unflinching dark side
goes to extreme lengths to protect and avenge the people he cares about.
The Devil All the Time (2020)
Directed by Antonio Campos
Written by Antonio Campos and Paulo Campos
Starring Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen,
Mia Wasikowska, Harry Melling, Kristin Griffith, David Atkinson
Based on the novel by Donald Ray Pollock
With so few films to anticipate this year, the assurance of streaming service release dates has never been more solid. When the trailer dropped for this one, it became one of my most anticipated of the year. An incredible cast, a crazy dark story, and a Netflix release? A dream come true. And The Devil All the Time is darker than a black car in the dead of night. Every character is broken over the course of the film, most of them by other characters. Every member of the cast is stellar, but Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson especially climb way out of their comfort zones to deliver career-defining performances. This is one that will be making waves come awards season, if there is a God.
The Devil All the Time spans over several decades, telling the stories of several interconnected families that all intersect between the towns of Knockemstiff, Ohio, and Coal Creek, West Virginia. We begin with returning soldier Willard Russell (Skarsgård), who becomes frightfully religious when his wife (Bennett) is diagnosed with cancer. He raises his son Arvin (Holland) to fear and worship God, but Arvin becomes an atheist after certain events transpire. As an adult, Arvin is protective of his stepsister Lenora (Scanlen) and suspicious of the new town preacher Preston Teagardin (Pattinson). His suspicions explode into full-blown rage after certain events transpire. I don't want to spoil anything, since this just came out, but it's tense as hell, brutally unforgiving, and the third act is just plain wild.
The Devil All the Time may be way too dark and cold for the Academy to consider. Then again, this is the same Motion Picture Academy that gave nominations and wins to films like The Silence of the Lambs, Mystic River, Get Out, and Joker, among many others. I hope they consider the film's quality and the strength of the fantastic performances. It's a tough watch, but a good movie.