“The Devil All The Time” was written and directed by Antonio Campos, produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and based on Donald Ray Pollock’s novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Bill Skarsgard, Mia Wasikowska, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanden and Robert Pattinson. This was released in selected theaters on 9/11/2020 and digitally on Netflix 9/16/2020.
After witnessing the horror of World War II in the Solomon Islands in 1945, US Marine Willard Russell (Skarsgard) returns home to Coal Creek, Ohio. In the town of Meade, he meets his future wife, Charlotte (Bennett) at the local diner and 3 years later they are married and living in Knockemstiff, Ohio with their 3 year old son, Arvin. At the same time, an unemployed photographer, Carl Henderson (Clarke) meets his future wife, Sandy (Keough). Meanwhile, back in Coal Creek, Helen Hatton (Wasikowska) has married a new preacher in town after a failed setup with Willard. However, after a failed attempt to conquer his fear of spiders, the preacher is bitten, begins hallucinating and then suddenly kills Helen. Willard also begins to spiral down as Charlotte takes ill from a mysterious disease and passes away. One night, Willard takes Arvin’s dog and sacrifices it for God but later is found dead by suicide. Arvin and police officer Lee Bodecker (Stan) found the bodies. Lee is also the older brother of Sandy. Years later, Arvin, now a young man (Holland) is living with his grandmother and step sister, Lenora (Scanden) who is the only daughter of Helen and the preacher. A new preacher moves into town, Reverend Preston Teagardin (Pattinson) and begins very unusual relationship with young Lenora. Despite his devotion and relationship with God, Preston also has his own dark secrets, involving young girls. Lenora tragically commits suicide and an enraged Arvin sees Preston as the only suspect. Arvin takes his father’s pistol and begins down a very dark path however it seemed to be doing more good from the grace of God than just dark and twisted. Maybe the world would better without these so called prophets from God, “spreading” the good word.
This was a fantastic film. From the writing to directing and acting. Tom Holland really shows both depth and maturity as an actor coming out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Seeing him in this much darker and violent film compared to Spider Man, was interesting and definitely paid off. Robert Pattinson and Sebastian Stan also give solid performances. The cast are amazing and the performances are fantastic and really being the story to life. The film has certain earmarks of “Pulp Fiction” but doesn’t rip that film off at all and maintains its own charisma.
Overall, this arguably is the best film that Netflix has ever produced and released. Great performances from the cast, phenomenal storytelling, cinematography and directing. It really is hard to find a flaw with this film. It does drag during a few parts but they can be overlooked due to the great acting. Independent films like this one are perfect for the select theaters and Netflix. Not an over the top blockbuster or a mediocre throw away, just right for a good old fashioned storytelling film.