Devil All the Time Movie reviewed (Spoilers Included)


Bhoomi Sharma, Photography Editor

The Devil All The Time is a Netflix Original movie based on a book by Donald Ray Pollock. The movie is directed by Antonio Campos, who along with Paula Campos, wrote the screenplay. At first glance, the movie seems to be about a small corrupt town. There’s a sheriff who cares about himself more than the law a corrupt preacher who uses his influence to have sexual relations with underage girls, a serial killer who targets hitchhikers and while it is all that, there’s so much more to the story.

The majority of the movie takes place in the small town of Knockemstiff, Ohio, starting at the end of the second World War. The whole movie is shot in film, which helps sell the time period the story takes place in. The story spans over a few years. Tom Holland, famous for his role as Spider-man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plays Arvin Russel, who is the closest thing to a protagonist we have in the movie. There’s a constant omnipresent narrator throughout the story, but it seems like all the plot points converge around this young man.

However, Tom Holland isn’t the only big name in this movie. Robert Pattinson plays a pedophilic preacher, and Sebastian Stan plays the big bad sheriff of the town. While the three of them are never in a single scene together, it’s interesting to see how their characters play off of each other. Pattinson blows this one out of the park – his southern drawl is perfect, outshining all his previous roles.

Multiple plotlines run parallel to each other, all coming together in the last act. All the characters end up being connected through what appears to be fate. And it seems that they all end up either killed or doing the killing.

The story itself is very creepy and full of a sense of constant discomfort. Like I mentioned before, it mostly takes place in Knockemstiff, although we start our journey in Meade, another small town in Ohio. The title is mentioned less than ten minutes into the story, and it’s already apparent that religion, specifically Christianity will be playing a large part in the story. It serves as an excuse for many of the choices the characters make. The movie shows what could be considered the worst parts of any religion – authority figures using it as a mask to take advantage of younger children, particularly girls and using it as a reason to cause harm and hurt townsfolk. Chrisitanity almost never serves as a beacon of hope, but instead sways our characters to do the most horrid things, like shooting their son’s dog or killing their wife. It ends up controlling everyone, turning them into vapid demons, who only care about themselves.

One of the main story lines revolves around the lives of orphans Arvin Russel and Leonora Lefferty. They  grow up together, and it’s their bond that becomes the catalyst for the explosive ending. It’s almost funny how intertwined these orphans’ lives are with their parents; this is another theme present throughout the movie. Arvin’s childhood is defined by the passing of his mother and his father’s suicide. The only thing he ends up inheriting from his parents is a gun and a knowledge of how to get revenge for loved ones that have been wronged. Leonora’s mother was killed by her husband, a man of God, in a desperate attempt to reach Him. Leonora herself ends up being driven to suicide, pregnant at 17 by a preacher twice her age who molested her. These children are haunted by the fate of their parents constantly, whether they know it or not. 

Overall, the film’s themes of sin, trauma and religion are a little gruesome, but they tell a very interesting story. “Devil all the Time” might be a little off-putting at first, but it is worth it to watch.