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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Devil All the Time

Dangerous & Unpredictable

The Devil All The Time is like an old chandelier. It still clings to the ceiling but the dangerous interiors of the complex characters make it so that by the film's end, it'll have fallen to the ground with the glass crystals flying everywhere.

The Devil All The Time has no specific lead character or even a general plot. The film just takes audiences on an unpredictable odyssey set over the course of several years in Ohio. You meet all the characters in the beginning and see them again when the film decides it makes sense. The Devil All The Time is set way in the past but has very relevant themes in regards to its portrayal of carelessness and corruption.

This film at its heart is about silent anger and the inheritance of that anger. Something I found very interesting about the film is that the characters operate more on their beliefs than their desires. It's very rare I feel to watch a film where what a character wants is so far removed from the plot, it's not even a part of the conversation. What do writers do with characters who walk around as though they want nothing? It's almost as though they've cut two holes into a white sheet, put it over their head, and go through life like ghosts.

The cinematography certainly does a good job of painting the picture for a ghost town - a ghost town that's operated by people who think they're so right while the others are so wrong and what happens when they cross paths. The cast as a whole was very strong, Bill Skarsgard and one of my personal favorite indie gods Riley Keough were particularly memorable.

“Some people were just born to be buried” this line comes towards the film's highway exit of an ending but still chills me for a multitude of reasons. When you come across someone you shouldn't, how do you know if that person is biologically evil or fell into a pattern? This can certainly be a very dangerous thing and the characters either embrace it or feel trapped by those who do.

There's a scene midway through the film where Riley Keough’s Sandy is in her car early in the morning, (so early that it is still dark out) she's outside a motel and has been crying. She puts her hand to the side of her face and the look in her eyes is pure exhaustion. She pulls out to drive away, then stops in defeat before pulling up again. Keough absolutely nailed this scene because, for Sandy, escape is not about location, it's about people she has no control over. How do you run from a puppeteer if you can't cut his strings?

The Devil All The Time comes and goes but it's never over and done with. The film is very violent but it's the psychology of that violence that makes it so frightening. Every generation has its own cast of characters like the ones on display in the film. The true horror of The Devil All The Time is the idea that monsters who commit corruption (That includes the monsters at the front and center of our time) don't do it just because they can: They do it just because they think it's fun. They like to see others suffer.

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