Monday, September 21, 2020

The Devil All the Time (2020)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Devil All the Time (2020)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Length: 138 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Nine Stories Productions, Netflix
Director: Antonio Campos
Writer: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos, Donald Ray Pollock
Actors: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge, Given Sharp, Drew Starkey, Lucy Faust, Abby Glover, David Maldonado, Cory Scott Allen, Kristin Griffith, Michael Banks Repeta
Blurb from IMDb: Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.

Selina’s Point of View:
I have come to love Tom Holland (Onward, Spider-Man: Homecoming, In the Heart of the Sea) as an actor. That’s what primarily drove my interest in The Devil All the Time, at least initially. Eventually I took note of the rest of the phenomenal cast and watched the trailer – but none of that would have been enough to keep me interested without Holland.
Period piece films, especially ones that are rooted in mainly drama, just don’t tend to speak to me. On top of that, it’s long. It’s as if the writers took several different films and connected them into one. All the stories converge eventually, but you bounce back and forth a bit first. I had some suspicions that I might have trouble watching.
I was shocked that they were able to keep things from being difficult to follow. I thought I was going to get confused, but everything from the content, to the settings, to the acting kept me sucked in. My attention never wavered.

The people involved in The Devil All the Time were absolutely at the top of their game. Every branch of the setting was in place. There was not a single performance that was flawed. The writing was on point, except for one scene that I felt was a bit gratuitous.
There was one particular death that was much harder to watch than the others, the third one – I believe it was. There was no body horror, no torture involved. Something about the way the scene was done just made it feel very real. The director opted to go for a muted use of blood and music that caused everything to match up to what you would expect to see at a real crime scene. That made it more horrifying than any torture-based horror flick I’ve ever seen.
Honestly, even with how great the film is, a lot of it is difficult to watch and listen to. It goes to some seriously dark places and there are triggers everywhere. Keep that in mind if you’re interested in watching.
And you should be interested in watching. Netflix did a great job picking this movie for distribution. It’s unforgettable.

Cat’s Point of View:
When I see a movie labeled with the genres of crime, drama, and thriller; it tends to set me up for an experience that will either hold me in suspense or pull me into intrigue while I sit on the edge of my seat. I expect to be clawing for hope that the protagonist skates by to whatever their story’s favorable conclusion might be.
When “thrills” are promised, I expect time to fly by.
If I had to pick one word to describe The Devil All the Time, speedy would definitely not be it. The not-quite two and a half hours of this film felt more like three. I get it, though. The story spans several decades, after all. I guess I just wish the pacing was a bit faster. I suppose feeling the passage of time towards the inevitable conclusion could have been purposeful.
My take on this all-star Netflix original is that it gives us a reminder about that phrase we sometimes bandy about – “it’s a small world.” Expanding on that, the film also gives us a lesson in six-degrees-of-karma… or you could even argue fate.
I appreciated how immersive into that bygone era between World War II and Vietnam the film felt. The fact that the movie was shot on 35mm likely added to that ambiance and was a risk that, hopefully, paid off for Netflix.

The cast was amazing in their roles. I was invested in the characters regardless of how intensely I felt the passage of time. Of course, the time period depicted in the tale is, by nature, “slower-paced” in comparison to the “fast-lane” of the “future” that we live in, today.
If I’m being fair, I have to admit, it is also possible that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my right arm lately could also be coloring my perception of the passage of time. (I have a doctor’s appointment later this week, thankfully.)
I expect that the production was fairly true to the novel that it was adapted from, however; considering that the author of the titular book lent his voice to the role of the narrator of this story. Donald Ray Pollock hasn’t even voiced his own audiobooks before, so this seems to be telling for the production’s benefit.
Overall, it’s a solid dramatic piece, and satisfying for the most part. I definitely wouldn’t steer anyone away from the movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 64%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 83%
Metascore – 54/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.9/10
IMDB Score – 7.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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