"The Devil All the Time" — What Was the Point of It All?
Updated: Oct 17
by Brad Miller
A young man tries to protect the ones he loves in a town full of cynical characters.
A Diamond in the Rough
Arvin (Tom Holland) delivers a solid performance so much so that he’s missed while not on screen. His character gave audiences at least one person to root for. Most other characters are not great people or just aren’t interesting.
None of the “villains” in this film justify their presence. Audiences will struggle to find any antagonists that they even understand. These characters are given no motivation and practically zero backstories. They just commit horrible deeds. The only sort of exception would be the Rev. Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson) and only because of the actor’s performance. Any antagonist introduced is pretty early forgotten. Most of the characters aren’t too memorable.
Sticking to its guns
Shortly into the film, you’ll learn that no one sticks around for long. Characters drop like flies throughout the movie so much that it just becomes predictable. The film's creators stick to their message that evil is everywhere: in the church, the police department and even with everyday civilians. You’re beat over the head with this message so much that it gets tiresome knowing the outcome of a scene as soon as it begins.
The pacing and length alone of this film makes it a difficult watch. Over an hour into the movie not many events worth mentioning even occurred. It spends much of the film jumping around in the timeline. Even if you’re paying attention it wouldn’t be surprising if you are confused. From time to time, the narrator will jump in to give exposition and it feels unnecessary. A story shouldn’t need a narrator to explain what’s happening to the viewer. However, without that exposition most people would be lost throughout the film.
What was the point of it all? That’s the question that comes to mind as I watched the credits roll. From predictable conclusions to forgettable characters, this film is a mess. Even a superb performance from Tom Holland can't save this picture. The story goes everywhere and loses the audience. Nothing feels like it happens organically just more events occur so that the plot can continue.
Evil is everywhere and throughout you’ll see that the story was written to emphasize that. Eventually, it feels insulting because of how many times they choose to share the same message. Finally, the movie just felt too long, the same job could’ve been accomplished in significantly less time allowing for more exciting moments and possibly a more focused plot.