Over the years, filmmakers have tried to tackle the realities and nuances of religion in a sort of backwoods horror genre. This not only exposes the radical, cult-like religious followers but also sheds light on Appalachian groups of people living in poverty. However, none so accurately and horrifically do this justice as The Devil All The Time.
With a brutally honest message that leaves audiences with depressive feelings, The Devil All The Time is a disturbing piece of Oscar-bait with an absolute all-star cast.
The film follows a story of multiple generations being impacted by violence with religious tones in the poorer heartland of America.
It’s almost a blessing and a curse when it comes to this fantastic cast. On the one hand, you loved seeing all of the incredible actors participating in this psychologically-jarring film, but on the other hand, you were upset that they didn’t have enough screen time.
Arguably the best part of the film is the cast, created by Douglas Aibel. It’s difficult to even pinpoint where to begin when talking about this cast, so we’ll begin by listing off the key players: Bill Skarsgaard, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Riley Keough, Haley Bennett and Jason Clarke. This ensemble cast, as well as the other fantastic players in the film, is somewhat split into generations, but is absolutely phenomenal throughout without any sign of a weak link.
It’s Pattinson, Melling and Keough that really steal the show. When Pattinson opens his mouth for the first time, anyone who has ever seen him in a film would automatically drop their jaw. His accent and diction are impeccable and wildly consistent in a film full of people attempting a very specific accent. Melling perfectly captures that radical, God-driven man who believes that he, over others, is the chosen one. Then there’s Keough, who portrays a slew of human emotions ranging from a performative woman acting as “bait” for men to someone who has spent every waking moment contemplating the decisions they’ve made and how they got to the point they’re in. These three, alone, make the film worth it.
If not for the incredible cast, then for the fantastic production. It’s not surprising with the high level of producers, including actor Jake Gyllenhaal, that the film is incredibly well put together. The cinematography by Lol Crawley is breathtaking, the costume design by Emma Potter brilliantly matches the economic status and time period of each character and the editing by Sofia Subercaseaux keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.
For a cautionary tale and a deeply disturbing look into the minds of corrupt and crooked people who model their bad behavior off of radical religious premises, The Devil All The Time is the film for you. It’s almost a sinister version of Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, in the sense that every character in the film has some sort of connection that’s revealed throughout. Director Antonio Campos creates a hit with several messages, but the one that stands out the most has to be: everyone’s a sinner.