The movie ‘Frailty’ scared the shit out of me as a kid. It is about a fanatically religious father that claims he is receiving visions from angels, ordering him to destroy demons that exist in the world. The film’s presentation of these ideas feels subjective, leaving us to try and figure out whether the visions are real and the angels are really communicating with the father, or whether it is simply insanity and there is a genuine murderous intent in the father as these “demons” look like, sound like, and have all the qualities of a human being. Belief in something requires a devotion to that thing and sometimes our faith in that thing is tested.
In ‘The Devil All the Time’, the presentation of events is done objectively but we are asked to contemplate the meaning of it all. Was Arvin’s murderous path chosen for him, or was it a matter of choice? Lines stay blurred but the film seems to suggest that we all have a choice. Arvin, Willard, Reverend Preston, Lenora… they all had a choice yet they were seemingly guided by the invisible hand of fate. In this tightly wound inter-connected world, our actions are like drops in the ocean as they ripple out briefly before disappearing among the deep, dark abyss. We can only ever see the ripples from the surface but there is so much more underneath that we will never understand.
‘Frailty’ subjectively represents objective judgment while ‘The Devil All the Time’ objectively represents subjective judgment. Diametrically opposed but seemingly entangled. ‘The Devil All the Time’ is a good film but not an enjoyable one. I wonder how long it will stay on my mind… my guess is not as long as ‘Frailty’.
7/10 – Good