The Devil All The Time-film review

This film feels like reading a book that's divided into different sections dedicated to each character/couple as it unravels their correlation with each other. Very much like how life is. It's a realistic portrayal that allows those sections with the characters it follows enough representation that sometimes you're unsure of whose story will win as the main story.

The result of the character power tousle is that we focus eventually on Tom Holland who plays the role of Arvin, a young man who has had to deal with so much destabilizing tragedy as a boy, right up till his teenage years in a town that is rotting with it's deeply disturbing characters.

There is just so much tragedy that I had to Google to see if any of these were based on true life events because God should really not be this unfaithful. The religious theme is deeply embedded in it as it portrays in many ways how the abuse of faith and power can lead to the destruction of people's lives. How naivety and extreme fanaticism will lead to the uprising of a preacher man who believes that he hears from God in a dark closet full of spiders in his face or that stabbing his wife with a screw driver and asking for a resurrection in a field is a grand display of belief.

There are painful scenes as you watch a man who never prayed to God construct a cross and marry his sweetheart only for her to be diagnosed with cancer and his despair as he prays from morning till dusk for her healing and then sacrifices his son's dog because he believes God moves when you give him what's dear to you. This is the boys father and he kills himself when his wife dies.

You are led again to new beginnings for the boy as he is returned back to his grandmother and you are hopeful he will finally have normalcy, but yet again, tragedy strikes when his step sister, the girl adopted by his grandmother and also the daughter of the woman who was stabbed in the paragraph above gets herself pregnant by a new and demented preacher who comes to the town, tricks her and has sex with her by telling her that what she's doing in her birthday suit with him is 'showing herself to the lord'. He tells her later when she comes to him that she's delusional because how can she be pregnant when all they did was commune with the lord. She kills herself mistakenly.

There's simply so much for us to take as the humans we see struggle to understand God's ways.

We're led further to new characters; a couple who enjoys picking hitchhikers and forcing them to take nude photos with the wife and then killing them. This wife is related to the sheriff who has his own share of corrupt ways and is trying to win an election. Every character is connected at some level as we see that our initial stabbing preacher man was their first victim. He'd been hitch hiking as he tried to escape the consequences of his actions.


The film explores what actions we take when we're faced with very few options with repeated injustices. Keeping in mind that this story is imagined to have happened in the 1950's, the crimes committed, although traceable does not make the characters fear for the way they commit messy crimes. Like how you'd worry about finger prints and leaving some of your items in very obvious places as you tried to flee from a scene of a crime.

It leaves you with a hopeful ending as to the fate of this young man. He sees himself as a fighter and as he drifts off to sleep after yawning the longest yawn I've ever seen in a movie, we're left wondering if he'll join the army, if he'll survive that and return to find his own sweetheart and start a family someday. If he will be luckier than his father to have a happy life somehow. A young man who's lived multiple lives in such a short time. We can only hope for the best for our fictional character.

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