The Devil All the Time Relies Desperately on its Influences and Marvelous Performers — Maybe, Too Much?

Somebody initiate a “Robert Pattinson’s Seamless Accents Club” already!

Netflix’s latest drop The Devil All the Time is a “karma bites!” type of tale, one that takes us on a journey into the questionable aftermaths of our actions that seem all too righteously intentional to be coincidences. Over and above that though, Antonio Campos’ film reconciles exactly how the good yet misleading ambitions in the methods we choose to interpret our religion with has that unsound lenience to twist even the best of us into unintentional devils, passing the hex on from generation to generation — it’s all an elongated case of humanistic turmoil so to speak. If the Tommy Lee Jones-esc narrator (author shoutout!) couldn’t beat that message over your head enough with his melodramatic takes on the countless mutilations the story avalanches you with, then maybe a convincing performance (many of which are just too damn exceptional to be in a redundant narrative of this caliber) from Bill Skarsgård will change your mind, followed fifty minutes later by Tom Holland’s leading role, followed then ten minutes later by Robert Pattinson’s sinister yet momentary presence… and the list continues to tangle up as well as the experience’s organization and ultimately the viewer’s patience.

It’s pass evident that Antonio Campos clearly cares for his craft, concocting a sublime-looking movie with a vehement gentleness for camera adeptness. There’s no denying that the filmmaker knows what he’s doing when he rolls the camera and enlivens his actors to pursue the most vicious of affairs. On the contrary though, it’s Campos’ obsession for past narratives that leaves compact space for the audience to ponder on. The Devil All the Time’s former inspirers in the religious exploit arts that the film borrows from will cause plenty to find the film to be unduly “recap-ish” and, by the same token, have already executed the common thematic deeds we’re used to much profounder than a handful of these copy-cat renewals. Plus, the ugly abundance of narration that’s exhaustively used to explain the film’s themes and even many of its situational scenarios as well, certainly didn’t help witnesses find room to put theories together themselves.

As Cormac McCarthy as this feature-length would like to be, I’d reckon it’s flimsily hitched more so to a humdrum moral-porn chronicle that just so happens to use a needlessly prolonged series of unfortunate “coincidences” to preach mediocre bullet-point notes of already established works and motifs. Who knows? The devil could live in me, you see, as I simply didn’t register the greatness of Campos’ story here. Maybe some mighty being will strike me down for this to prove that we do live in a universe built off of moral codes. Hmm… deep or boring?

Verdict: C+ 

2020 Ranked

“The Devil All the Time” is now available to stream on Netflix.

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