The Devil All the Time – And He Is Among Us

REVIEW
by Naya Guseva
26.09.2020
The psychological thriller The Devil All the Time (2020), directed by Antonio Campos and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, has been released on Netflix: screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock whose voice belongs to the background storyteller. Pay attention to the slogan: "Some people are just born to be buried" – it sets the rhythm for the whole picture.
Ohio, like the whole America, is stuck between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Faith in the world and humanity has been lost, so the only thing that remains unchanged is God. We see the stories of different people who somehow suffered from the same thing. «Almost all of them are connected by blood through this or that god forgotten disaster» – says the narrator and reminds us why the heroes are experiencing all the pain of their generations. There begins the religious fanaticism from which nothing good can be expected. The plot arises around how people cling to the last opportunity to atone for their sins, but actually earn new ones.

The difference in the images of the key characters is in the reasons for their godlessness. Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) loses faith because of his fanatical father Willard (Bill Skarsgard) who could not cope with the loss of his wife and sacrifices himself to a higher power. Sheriff Lee Baodecker (Sebastian Stan) turns a blind eye to the serial murders committed by his sister Sandy (Riley Kio) and her fiancé Carl Henderson (Jason Clarke) because the election of the governor is soon and Baodecker takes part. Lenora (Eliza Scanlen), Arwin's half-sister, has so much faith in God that she accepts the words of the new preacher Preston Tigardin (Robert Pattinson) about the naked communion for a clean coin. And even the clergyman himself, who should be the salvation of the city, instead pretends to be Jesus himself and uses this as bait for local women.
Campos builds a vicious circle of figures stuck in it for all existing sins and then plays Russian roulette with the characters – the brightest and purest will survive. In this circle, there are two characters who have nothing to do with religion: its victim Arvin and the obscene Tigardin. The conflict of these figures, more like a fight of good and evil, gives a chain reaction. All the heroes suddenly understand that their souls are empty and try to purify themselves. And even those characters that collide with each other quite accidentally enter the fight for life gnawing their place in the sun.
The brutality with which the heroes drop out of the plot with the background of dangerous fanaticism is quite natural: the suicide, the murder, the fatal illness. The film is literally washed with the blood of those who are trying to preach, but should be boiled in a cauldron somewhere underground. There is not a single second of mysticism in the film, only human nature and how far it is ready to go. Words of one of the characters that Satan himself "walks among us" take literal meaning, and the devil wakes up in everyone.
Suddenly, the end of the movie is not so doomed – the purest of souls is saved after all having gone through all the circles of Hell. And this is clearly not due to faith, but at the expense of life according to their just convictions.
The non-linear story confronts the fates of the people suffering from postwar trauma and crime, and the creators do not even try to write a beautiful story about the rebirth. On the contrary, they turn it into a bloodthirsty race for a place under God which is no longer anything but a lullaby name.
The only thing that gives hope in this drama (if not tragedy) is Arvin Russell breaking out of the vicious circle and as if rubbing off all the sins of the generation. Even if he doesn't know whether to go to war now or create an exemplary family, he will definitely do it without any of the named idols. With the hands of Arvin, Antonio Campos buries the sins and mistakes of the whole generation that has lost its way. Unfortunately, this will not last long – the Devil will stay among us.
 
The Devil All the Time – And He Is Among Us

REVIEW/NATION
by Naya Guseva
26.09.2020
The psychological thriller The Devil All the Time (2020), directed by Antonio Campos and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, has been released on Netflix: screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock whose voice belongs to the background storyteller. Pay attention to the slogan: "Some people are just born to be buried" – it sets the rhythm for the whole picture.
Ohio, like the whole America, is stuck between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Faith in the world and humanity has been lost, so the only thing that remains unchanged is God. We see the stories of different people who somehow suffered from the same thing. «Almost all of them are connected by blood through this or that god forgotten disaster» – says the narrator and reminds us why the heroes are experiencing all the pain of their generations. There begins the religious fanaticism from which nothing good can be expected. The plot arises around how people cling to the last opportunity to atone for their sins, but actually earn new ones.

The difference in the images of the key characters is in the reasons for their godlessness. Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) loses faith because of his fanatical father Willard (Bill Skarsgard) who could not cope with the loss of his wife and sacrifices himself to a higher power. Sheriff Lee Baodecker (Sebastian Stan) turns a blind eye to the serial murders committed by his sister Sandy (Riley Kio) and her fiancé Carl Henderson (Jason Clarke) because the election of the governor is soon and Baodecker takes part. Lenora (Eliza Scanlen), Arwin's half-sister, has so much faith in God that she accepts the words of the new preacher Preston Tigardin (Robert Pattinson) about the naked communion for a clean coin. And even the clergyman himself, who should be the salvation of the city, instead pretends to be Jesus himself and uses this as bait for local women.
Campos builds a vicious circle of figures stuck in it for all existing sins and then plays Russian roulette with the characters – the brightest and purest will survive. In this circle, there are two characters who have nothing to do with religion: its victim Arvin and the obscene Tigardin. The conflict of these figures, more like a fight of good and evil, gives a chain reaction. All the heroes suddenly understand that their souls are empty and try to purify themselves. And even those characters that collide with each other quite accidentally enter the fight for life gnawing their place in the sun.

The brutality with which the heroes drop out of the plot with the background of dangerous fanaticism is quite natural: the suicide, the murder, the fatal illness. The film is literally washed with the blood of those who are trying to preach, but should be boiled in a cauldron somewhere underground. There is not a single second of mysticism in the film, only human nature and how far it is ready to go. Words of one of the characters that Satan himself "walks among us" take literal meaning, and the devil wakes up in everyone.
Suddenly, the end of the movie is not so doomed – the purest of souls is saved after all having gone through all the circles of Hell. And this is clearly not due to faith, but at the expense of life according to their just convictions.

The non-linear story confronts the fates of the people suffering from postwar trauma and crime, and the creators do not even try to write a beautiful story about the rebirth. On the contrary, they turn it into a bloodthirsty race for a place under God which is no longer anything but a lullaby name.
The only thing that gives hope in this drama (if not tragedy) is Arvin Russell breaking out of the vicious circle and as if rubbing off all the sins of the generation. Even if he doesn't know whether to go to war now or create an exemplary family, he will definitely do it without any of the named idols. With the hands of Arvin, Antonio Campos buries the sins and mistakes of the whole generation that has lost its way. Unfortunately, this will not last long – the Devil will stay among us.
Made on
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