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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

It's Just Misery Porn: The Devil All The Time Review.


Most of the time in a movie a dark moment or two, like a murder or some sort of violence or other dark themes, can really add to the story, to help create a picture. But when the misery IS the story, as is the case in Antonio Campos’ new Netflix movie “The Devil All the Time”, it makes for a really hard watch with very little payoff.

I know this movie might appeal to a lot of people because of its star studded cast, some young fans of Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson or Bill Skarsgård might want to give the movie a watch to see their fave. But if that’s your only reason I’d advise you not to watch this one. It’s not a bad movie, I actually was quite engrossed in it as Tom Holland went around delivering righteous justice. But there was so many times where I had to look away or where I knew other people would triggered or upset by what was being depicted. There are scenes depicting paedophilia, other forced sexual situations with guns, violence, and animal death. So it’s not a movie for everyone and nor should it be.

But within the film there are redeeming qualities that make it an interesting watch if none of that is triggering to you. The movie is a noir thriller, where each character (except for Hollan) is dastardlier than the last. A sleazy preacher, a crooked sheriff, and a creepy murderous cuckolding couple.

The brightest star for me, although he’s in it less than some of the other crooks, is Robert Pattinson as new town preacher Preston Teagardin (ridiculous name). A very flashy, fancy man who drives a nice car and wears frilly shirts. He immediately puts you off with his patronising, sneering twang, occasionally breaking into Colonel Sanders territory, he uses the words of god as he sees them to his own ends, to humiliate, to degrade, and to twist people into doing what he wants. It’s a shame Pattinson wasn’t given much time to shine, although his character was heinous and you just wanna punch him I still wanted more.

Another standout is Riley Keough as Sandy, the tired, desperate wife trapped in a pretty horrible loop of her own creation as she helps her husband entrap and murder people. You can see the years of guilt, stress and paranoia in every expression Keough pulls, as you wonder how much of her situation is really her doing.

Obviously, we need to talk about Tom Holland as the films moral centre Arvin, although even he is imperfect. A product of a tragic backstory, and a father (Bill Skarsgård but he sounds like Larry the Cable Guy) who taught him some less than healthy things about survival and masculinity. He prefers to solve problems with his fists and a gun. There are shadows of his father’s excessive type of violence when dealing with everyday schoolyard bullies but they serve him well against the monsters he comes across and help him make some tough choices. There is an element of Tom’s performance that still reminds you “Hey, that’s Peter Parker.” When someone pulls a gun on him you scream “No not spider-man!!” The steer from teen superhero movie to gory noir thriller might have been too sharp a turn, although Tom Holland does give an admirable performance overall.

So to recap, The Devil All the Time, while engrossing and even times addicting, is more gritty, sadistic, mortifying, and gross than is probably necessary. It’s not for everyone and unless you’re really into grittier, darker types of films you might want to give this one a miss.

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