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Movie Review: Netflix’s New Dark Original

By Sydney Rhodes 

The Devil All the Time, a new Netflix original film released on Wednesday, Sept. 16 has since made the “Top 10” Netflix list. The drama is based on the novel by Donal Ray Pollock and brought to life by director Antonio Campo. 

“An elegantly crafted production, half-crazed and borderline kitschy but with a serious core that traces,” Joe Morgenstern, a movie critic for The Wall Street Journal said in a review. 

The film stars critically acclaimed actors such as Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and Bill Skarsgard. The Devil All the Time takes place in a small, rural town between the 1940s, after World War II and the early 1960s. The story features many characters and how both religion and violence have affected their lives during this time. I think it’s safe to say the film is very dark and twisted, although it works. Just be prepared for gore and cruelty when you least expect it. 

Brian Tallerico, editor of rogerebert.com described the movie best in his review, “‘The Devil All the Time’ is an ambitious, sprawling drama with so much rippling under its surface and so many characters to keep track of that it’s tempting to say it would have worked better as a mini-series. Some characters and themes get minimized more than they should because of the film’s broad scope, but give me a movie that bites off more than it can chew any time over one that doesn’t bite at all.”

Although the movie is a lot all at once, as a viewer, it felt like you would miss something important if you weren’t paying attention, every scene. For that reason, I believe the film was executed well. The plot-twists and turns in the movie keep you on edge for what’s to come next. 

Tom Holland did an amazing job as the main character of the story, Arvin. He portrayed a perfect mix of an aggressive, kind-hearted and mentally deranged character. In the film, Arvin loses his mother to cancer, dog to a sacrifice his father had made, and his father to suicide all in a short span of time. Tom Holland reflects the emotions of Arvin just as you would expect given the circumstances and his acting brought Arvin’s pain and suffering to life. This role was really a breaking point for him as he steps away from Spiderman

On the other hand, Robert Pattison played a role we have never seen from him before: a psychotic reverend who molests girls who belong to the local church. And quite honestly, he killed it. I imagine that the dated, southern lines weren’t easy to recite, but Robert Pattinson makes you believe he lived through the era. As well as he did, I was surprised to see him step away from all the romanticised roles he’s played over the last few years. 

Pattinson is, you must remember, one of the most desirable men in the world — it’s almost as if he deliberately wants to destroy the image that he has built over the years. It’s astounding really, if you consider just how carefully other movie stars cultivate their personas,” stated Rohan Naahar, a movie critic for Hindustan Times, in his review of The Devil All the Time.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with this Netflix original, unless however you’re not looking for an unsettling amount of violence. It’s unlikely that we’ll see the work of these lead actors and directors go unnoticed in the coming months.

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