Warning, spoilers. The following paragraphs reveal spoilers for The Devil, all the time. If you don’t want to know anything, don’t read on.
Adapted from Donald Ray Pollock’s novel, The Devil, All Time is a thriller directed by Antonio Campos and carried by an exceptional cast. The feature film, available on Netflix since September 16, takes us into the violence and horror of rural America from the 1940s to the 1960s through a gallery of sinister characters obsessed with death, religion and evil. . All will see their destinies intersect for the worse through the journey of young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland), who struggles with his inner demons and the dark past of his father Willard (Bill Skarsgard), a veteran of the Pacific War who desperately tried to save his wife from cancer.
Poor Arvin tries somehow not to feed on violence but will have no other choice but to resort to it to protect his family and defend himself. He will not hesitate to beat up high school students who attack his half-sister Lenora (Eliza Scanlen), to kill Reverend Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson), who raped her, but also the serial killer couple. Sandy (Riley Keough) and Carl (Jason Clarke) and finally the crooked sheriff Lee Bodecker (Sebastian Stan). If the film is called The Devil, all the time, there is hardly ever a question of the evil one in the thriller but of the conflicting relationship that the characters have with God. All the characters are more afraid of God than of the devil and make immense sacrifices to prove their faith, to draw closer to the divine or to avoid the evil which gnaws at them.
An inevitable death?
For his part, Arvin turned away from religion so as not to become like his father and not to follow in his footsteps, but it is with his weapon, a Luger semi-automatic that he recovered from the war, that he kills his enemies. Note that this weapon would have, according to Willard, been used by Hitler to commit suicide, and this anecdote makes it an even more diabolical instrument. This notion of evil is present in the flesh of the characters and seems to poison them. Arvin cannot escape it even if he kills people much more evil than him. In addition, the young man repeats several times that he had no choice as to the murders he committed.
The question of destiny is very present in the film since all the choices that the characters make lead them to death, as if an omniscient presence was guiding them towards their dire destinies. Is it God or is it the devil? The end of the feature film suggests that Arvin is finally released when he is hitchhiked and driven far from home. One would think that Arvin was guided by God in order to put an end to these decades of violence and Machiavellianism which gnawed at all the people connected directly or indirectly to the life of the young man. But a detail calls into question this hypothesis of plenitude which inhabits Arvin, who takes himself to dream of a life “without fights, without cries and without misfortune” : the hippie who took him in his car.
This man looks very much like Charles Manson, the famous serial killer himself obsessed with … the devil. The man also drives the same Wolkswagen van owned by Charles Manson to pick up stray travelers and goes to Cincinnati, where Charles Manson was born. And as Arvin falls asleep, President Johnson tells the radio that America must keep fighting the Communists, a message that sounds like a warning to Arvin, who should beware of the “good Samaritan” who is coming. to pick it up in his car. We then understand that the devil is really everywhere and all the time. The fate of Arvin, who thinks he is lucky to be led, suddenly becomes uncertain when he needs to sleep and his sleep sounds like a terrible admission of death.
And you, what did you think of the end of the movie The Devil, all the time?
The Devil, All the Time Trailer: