‘The Devil All The Time Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Star cast; impressive performances by Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Robert Pattinson and Harry Melling; noteworthy cinematography; authenticity of the environment and costumes; the accent of the characters and the voice of the narrator Cons: The hopeless gloom and hopelessness of the picture; rather long running time The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

Genre Drama, Psychological Thriller
Directed by Antonio Campos
Cast: Tom Holland (Arvin Russell), Bill Skarsgård (Willard Russell), Riley Keough (Sandy Henderson), Jason Clarke (Carl Henderson), Sebastian Stan (Sheriff Lee Boedeker), Haley Bennett (Charlotte Russell), Eliza Scanlen (Lenora Laferty ), Mia Wasikowska (Helen Hutton), Robert Pattinson (Reverend Teagardin), Harry Melling (Roy Laferty), etc.
Nine Stories Productions, Netflix
Year of release 2020
Site IMDb

The Devil All the Time is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, published in 2011. The events of the novel take place in 1945 – 1965 in West Virginia and Southern Ohio and are somehow connected with the tiny town of Knockemstiff (Ohio). Actually, it was in this place that Donald Ray Pollock himself was born, raised and spent most of his adult life. He worked as a driver and laborer at a local paper mill for almost 30 years, and at the age of 45 he quit drinking, graduated from university and began writing dark novels, striking with terrible details, telling about the inhabitants of his hometown.

American critics call Pollock’s works “Hillbilly Gothic,” and if you’ve watched the crime series Ozark, you know very well who Hillbillies are and why they should not be confused with rednecks. It seemed to me that “The Devil is Always Here” echoes some of Stephen King’s works, for example, the same 1922. There is also something in the novel/film from “Sometimes I Want Unbearably…” by Ken Kesey and the previous work of Antonio Campos himself – The Sinner / “Sinner”.

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

The Devil Is Always Here, which spans the period from the end of World War II to the beginning of Vietnam, tells the story of several families whose representatives find themselves connected to each other by a series of terrible events. And although this film contains numerous deaths, ruthless killers, and a corrupt sheriff, it is less a thriller or mystical horror, but an everyday drama, the ordinariness of which makes your hair stand on end. At its center is the Evil that lives in people, not brought in by any external factors, but by their inherent desire to hurt others. An evil that in many cases justifies itself by divine providence.

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

The Devil All the Time is a very leisurely film. Its running time exceeds two hours, and although such a duration can be very tedious, here it is, in principle, justified, because we will witness key events in the lives of two generations of the Russell, Laferty and Henderson / Bodecker families.

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

As we said at the very beginning, the main advantage of The Devil All the Time is its cast. And although most of the actors involved in this film are familiar only from superhero blockbusters, it turns out that they are very impressive in dramatic roles. And if we had no doubt about Robert Pattinson, who has recently starred in several strong roles at once, then the same Tom “Spider-Man” Holland and Sebastian “Winter Soldier” Stan became a pleasant surprise for us. Both of them were fantastic in The Devil Is Always Here. It’s funny, but Sebastian Stan was recommended to the authors of the film by Chris Evans, who, due to a busy schedule, was forced to refuse the role, which eventually went to Stan. This is the continuation of friendship beyond the screen.

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

It is worth noting the performers of the remaining male roles. Bill Skarsgård (another of the endless Skarsgård family clan), Jason Clarke, and Harry Melling all deliver stellar performances. And although the female performers in The Devil All the Time also deserve praise, their roles, due to the specifics of the work, turned out to be too small to fully appreciate the performance of the young actresses.

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

The Devil All the Time is available on Netflix in the original language with English and Russian subtitles. And I highly recommend watching it in English. Firstly, because of the stunning “hill dwellers” accent with which most of the film’s characters speak, and secondly, because of the voice of the narrator, played by the author of the novel himself, who at the age of 65 discovered another talent in himself .

Review of the film The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here”

The Devil All the Time / “The Devil is Always Here” leaves a very strange feeling. Pity for the heroes of this story, disgust, disgust, anger, and also, and this is probably the saddest thing, a feeling of absolute insecurity and hopelessness. I’m afraid you’re unlikely to recommend this film to your friends. So once again, it’s worth watching The Devil All the Time only for the new generation of Hollywood actors who have proven that they can not only effectively swing a shield and throw a web, but also demonstrate truly deep emotions. Thanks to Antonio Campos and Jake Gyllenhaal for helping the performers shine.


A very difficult and exhausting film, which is worth watching primarily because of the impressive acting ensemble.

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