The Devil all the Time and the R Patz Renaissance

Gothic drama, The Devil all the Time has become quite the talking point on social media over the past few weeks. Based on the 2011 book, the film follows multiple characters all residing in the  small American town, Knockemstiff. 

I’m going to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what to expect when watching this film. With such a large cast, I was unsure how the film was going to work, giving each character enough time on screen so that you are able to fully engage with them. In order to explain how it works, I’m going to use quite a strange metaphor here, but just hear me out. The film plays almost like a brutal, gothic Love Actually. Each character relates to each other in one way or another and through a series of vignettes, we are able to engage and understand their individual stories.

The film toys with a lot of themes, but none perhaps as prevalent as faith. Throughout the entirety of the film we see characters battle with their faith and trust in God and it is this faith that ultimately causes the horrific acts we see them commit. This underlying theme is what links every character and creates a sense of cohesion to the sometimes bonkers narrative. 

It must be noted that seeing Tom Holland, famous for his boyish, Spider-man charm, playing a darker, more violent character was fascinating. Whilst his performance is not groundbreaking per say, it’s good to see him experiment in his career and push himself further away from his usual persona. 

Now, I can’t discuss The Devil all the Time without discussing Robert Patinson’s exceptional performance as Knockemstiff’s new pastor. A villain of some sorts, Patinson’s Rev Teagarden is as alluring as he is repulsive with Patinson keeping the viewer on their toes as he grows more and more repulsive throughout the duration of the film. 

The Devil all the Time marks a strange time in Patinson’s career. As much of a meme as he is now a respected actor, we now live in the age of the R-Patz renaissance. After the huge success of the Twilight franchise, Pattinson seemingly dropped from the face of mainstream cinema, preferring to focus his talents on indie character dramas instead. However, 12 years after we were first introduced to Edward Cullen, we are now seeing Patinson in more and more mainstream films and finally getting the recognition he deserves. Now, I’m not being biased because I was in love with him when I was nine, Pattinson is a truly exceptional actor and I look forward to seeing what is next for him. 

Overall, The Devil all the Time is an interesting look into the complexities of faith and life. Whilst not the best, not the most ground breaking film I have ever seen, it is definitely worth a watch, especially to catch Pattinson’s exceptional performance. 


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Niamh Brook

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June 2022
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