The Devil All The Time – TCF Review

TCF Review: Appeased/Dark/Visceral but FAIL (see definitions)

The Devil All The Time (TDATT) (streaming on Netflix) is a new film based off of the novel of the same name written by Donald Ray Pollock and starring Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Haley Bennett and Jason Clarke. Its stellar cast and visceral cinematography alone make the film worthy of watching but something didn’t quite work for me.

The Netflix description reads as “Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality”.

The description implies that there is an overall plot or central theme rooted throughout but I failed to uncover it. Is it that man has a dark side that is deeply intertwined with faith? The movie is very dark and disturbing but there is little to no character attachment. It feels rushed. TDATT (should have) been a mini-series, or movie adaptation of the book in which they focus primarily on developing the complex and sinister characters rather than on their sinister deeds. I would guess the book establishes the character superbly. TDATT feels more like trying to take Stephen King’s novel, IT, and condensing it to a single two hour film. It just cannot be done well.

What is good? Beautifully made – cinematography is superb. If you like ‘dark’ then you’ll be satisfied. It could be a bit much for some viewers. The cast is top notch and puts on solid performances.

What is bad? The book likely delves deep down into the souls of these characters which is lacking in this movie. TDATT is tantalizing to watch but a true connection with any character was never established.

Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.