Religious devotion leads to sinister behaviour in the star studded film The Devil All the Time

The Devil All The Time delves deep into Christian Ohio between the 1940s, and 60s. It explores the fascinating intensity of extreme devotion to God – which inevitably transpires as self-defeating.

As the film begins, the audience is instantly provided with a dark, and sinister outlook on the circumstances surrounding this story.

The narrator, Donald Ray Pollock directs us through a brief background of the Russell family in 1957. This narration is accompanied by a gloomy tune which invokes uneasiness within its viewers.

Pollock, who antecedently wrote the novel of the same title nine years prior, brings a monotone, Ohio accent to this narration which sets the scene perfectly.

Similar to the manner that the plotlines of “Valentine’s Day”, and “Love Actually” unfold, each individual story seems to intertwine as the film plays out.

The film centres around the tale of the Russell family, in particular, that of the teenage son Arvin Russell (Tom Holland).

Sombre characters seem to loom around every aspect of Russell’s life. The untimely death of his mother at a young age has somewhat of a ripple effect on the tragedies that spontaneously occur throughout the remainder of his life.

Russell begins to grow wary of the Ohioan citizens’ intense devotion to God following his father’s (Bill Skarsgard) sacrificial offering of their dog’s soul in place of his mother’s soul.

Interestingly, Reverend Teagardin (Robert Pattinson), who is an intense devotee himself, says “It is our delusions that lead us to sin.”, foreshadowing that more sinister acts are yet to follow.

Russell noticeably becomes more violent, and irritable as he grows into adulthood, particularly when bullies attack his step-sister, Lenora (Eliza Scanlen).

When he is finally pushed to the limit, Russell begins to view himself as a vigilante of sorts, ridding the world of those who he believes need to be brought to justice.

Two notable performances in the film are that of Tom Holland, and Robert Pattinson. Arvin Russell is a character like no other we’ve never seen Holland play before.

Typically, Holland embodies the character of a pop-cultured, light-hearted teenage boy – similar to his role as Spider-man.

However, while still playing the role of a teenager, we see Holland warping his performance towards a darker, more sinister mentality.

Pattinson, who is well-known for his cringe-worthy performance in “The Twilight Saga”, brings passion to his performance.

Bringing the right amount of intensity to his scenes, Pattinson expressed Teagardin’s self-deception, and his firmly held convictions in a manner that grips the audience’s attention completely.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of a film is to have a conclusion which ties the whole plot line together. The Devil All The Time has just this – no loose ends, no unanswered questions, the perfect summary of a woeful tale.

At first glance, the stellar cast of The Devil All The Time is an excellent reason to devote 2 hours, and 18 minutes to your TV screen.

However, the impeccable performances of this cast, and the well-culminated, and concluded plotline is an even better reason to watch this film.

Emma Costigan

Image Credit: Netflix