Hollywood Movie Review - The Devil All The Time - 2020 - Wonderfully Intense - Much Ado About Everything
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Hollywood Movie Review – The Devil All The Time – 2020 – Wonderfully Intense

by AniM
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Hollywood Movie – Poster

Movie Review – The Devil All The Time – Complex and Deep

My Rating – 4 out of 5

Plot Summary – Movie Review

This movie directed by Antonio Campos is based on Donald Ray Pollock’s ‘Terrifying Novel’ of the same name, and since I have not read the book, I am unable to compare the two works, but if the movie is anything to go by – it is terrifying all right! Not in the haunted spirit sense of the word, it paints a terrifying picture of the human soul – wracked with conflict, violence and evil. It matters not that the soul lies within the form of a priest, or a soldier or a salesman – it wreaks equal havoc on all those who are around.

It makes for grim watching, for the naked evil in man is actually a scary vision… Set in the late 1940’s when Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård) returns from WW-II with severe trauma, to his hometown of Knockemstiff, Ohio. His lasting impression of the brutalities caused by violent conflict, is that of a soldier crucified on a crudely hewn cross, his last breath still to escape. Upon his return and subsequent settling down, he puts together a similar cross in the woods and uses it as a chapel and an altar. His internal turmoil seems to settle down into the comforts of blissful domesticity – with wife Charlotte (Haley Bennett) and son Arvin (Michael Banks Repeta) till tragedy comes calling.

movie review - book cover
Book on which the Movie is based

The problem with the movie, according to me, is that it tries to embed too many stories within the same frame, however some characters maybe linked to each other. It’s like trying to tell 4-5 stories at the same time, confusing and complex. In one corollary of the story, a visiting preacher (an intense Harry Melling) visits Knockemstiff, woos Mia Wasikowska into marriage and then kills her, after she has a daughter, as part of an experiment where she’s supposed to resurrect from the dead!

Without revealing anymore details in this movie review, let’s jump to when little Arvin has grown up (into Tom Holland), a brooding young man who’s seen too much violence to last a lifetime, without ever witnessing a war. His adoptive sister is Lenora (Eliza Scanlen), orphaned by Harry Melling and being brought up by Arvin’s grandmother. Another preacher,Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson) comes calling (he employs a funny accent here!) and in the full cycle of history repeating itself enamours Lenora. The evil in the men of the Church is painful to behold, and even more cruel because of the guileless faith their parishioners place in them.

Watch the Trailer here:

Movie Review – Official Trailer

In yet another corollary, a serial killer masquerading as a travelling salesman, Carl (Jason Clarke) roams around the countryside, picking his victims from unsuspecting hitch-hikers, along with his wife Sandy (Riley Keough). Sandy is also the sister of the local Sheriff Lee Bodecker (Sebastian Stan), who himself, is corrupt and has sold his soul to the local gangsters. If you’re confused by now, don’t blame me, the story somewhat comes together near the end but I can’t tell you how without giving away the entire story,

Violence and tragedy go hand in hand in this, while the innocent suffer in silence. Robert Pattinson puts in a strong performance here, minus the weird accent, and completely emerges out of the lover boy stereotype. Tom Holland also puts in an extremely mature performance, amply displaying his range of acting chops. His aversion to violence and finally his resorting to it, is an extremely nuanced conflict to emote and he does it very well here. Bill Skarsgård does a commendable job too, with his trauma, stress and subsequent struggles with sanity and loss of reason, displayed with great elan!

Pics of the cast The Devil All The Time
Movie Review – Star Cast

In one particularly moving and grisly scene, reminiscent of slasher movies, Willard, under tremendous mental agony, even performs animal sacrifice to please his idea of God. But, dark as the questions he asks are, the mental tumult and hopelessness he suffers are depressing. In a world not as connected as it is now, information is sparse, unbiased knowledge is sparser still. Religion is the easiest mode to earn unsuspecting faith of the masses and for ages, unscrupulous peddlers of religious theology have violated that integrity which religion provides, for their petty gains.

Conclusion of the Movie Review

It’s a largely disturbing movie, though good does eventually win over evil but the poisonous permeation of that evil, destroys many lives before it is destroyed. Fantastic acting all around, Tom Holland, Riley Keough and Bill Skarsgård are quite outstanding. While one might struggle with the different threads running through this movie, it’s not impossible to keep track. This movie makes you take a real penetrative look at our vulnerability as a society, as a whole. Hopefully, the message of being empathetic to the vulnerable and the stressed will shine through to the audience.

Movie Review
Movie Review – Cover Art

**I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this movie review as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, do LIKE or Comment your observations!**

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1 comment

Yuvi's Buzz 6 December 2020 - 12:42 PM

This movie is sitting in my watch list and my interest is now piqued 😊 nice review 👍

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