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The Devil All The Time had potential

Here is a nice quick one for all of you. The Devil All The Time is another new thing to watch on Netflix, along with the other three or four new movies they added last week. (I have only got around to seeing this one and that controversial dancing kids one, so expect a September roundup post in the near future.)

This film is a gritty, post World War II drama with a star studded cast such as MCU Spider-Man, The Winter Soldier, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Dudley Dursley, Evil robot John Connor and the future Batman all having a love hate relationship with Christianity and maybe or not maybe wanting to kill some people over it. It’s a complex story told over a decade with different storylines going off all over the place, all loosely tied together with the common theme of everything feeling very bleak and kind of miserable. It’s also quite long, clocking in at over 2 hours and most of it is really boring so let’s talk about it!

The Devil All The Time would definitely be more on the quality end of the spectrum. It’s a well made movie and I can understand someone getting behind this film as there are moments that are super effective but will leave you feeling kind of dour. My problem is in the middle of those disturbing scenes there is a lot of fluff and most of it isn’t very interesting and some of which felt unnecessary. Also there’s a narrator and if you’ve read my Disneyathon series, you already know how much I love being told what a character is thinking. There are numerous scenes of people getting annoyed with each other that all feel kind of abrupt because the exact same thing is also happening in the other three storylines. So when we do get to the big shocking devastating moments, I feel kind of bad, like a slight ‘oh no’ feeling while never feeling too awful about it because I have barely spent much time with these characters.

Spider-Man hitchhiking
Hitch-hiking with Spider-Man

I do like what the movie has to say about how religion could potentially make someone so detached from reality that they want to go on some sort of messed-up crusade to prove their loyalty to their God. Still, in an over 2 hour movie did I really need to know the detailed activities of two serial killers who pick up hitch-hikers and take them into the woods to kill them and take artistic naked photos of them? Or the brother of one the killers who is also the local Sheriff and running for mayor and has connections to the local crime boss? Maybe if this was a mini-series? Unfortunately it’s a movie and time is scarce, so unless you can somehow give each storyline equal amount of relevance without losing sight of the main objective, then I wouldn’t even bother.

On the plus side the saving grace of this movie is the acting and the only reason why this movie isn’t a complete failure. They’re so good that if their names pop-up on any awards lists or whatever, I can completely get behind them. There are a lot of actors in this and the big standouts would include Tom Holland who plays the main character and does a good job carrying his portion of the movie. Bill Skarsgard, Harry Melling and Riley Kenough are all great in their respective roles. Lastly, I’m finally starting to come around on Robert Pattinson, what a talented actor he is thanks to The Lighthouse, Tenet and now this movie. He did such an amazing job at making me hate his uptight preacher character that one of my favourite moments of the movie is when Tom Holland finally decides to kick his annoying ass! Great cast all around but it’s kind of a shame that they’re all wasted in this pretty average story, except for Pattinson, I guess because the guy seems to just reflect off throwaway scripts as he used to sparkle in the sunlight over 10 years prior.

Overall there was definitely an attempt to make a solid movie, but some creative choices left it falling short. If you really had the urge to watch this movie, because all your favourite superhero actors are in it, then be my guest, you could always do worse, like pay $34 to Disney. I have been The Blog Complainer and I’m out of things to say, so goodbye!

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Cameron Black

I review stuff and hate on everything you ever loved. But I’m still a super nice guy and make pretty entertaining content.

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