New Jersey Stage Issue 75 - Page 100

Arvin ’ s simple-minded stepsister , who becomes a target of school bullies and a predatory preacher ( Robert Pattinson ); husband and wife serial killers Carl ( Jason Clarke ) and Sandy Henderson ( Riley Keough ), who lure men to their doom using the latter ’ s physical charms as bait ; yet another creepy preacher ( Harry Melling ) and his crippled , guitar-pickin ’ cohort ( Pokey LaFarge ); and of course , there ’ s the obligatory crooked Sheriff ( a bloated Sebastian Stan ). To a man and woman , all of them are broadly sketched redneck white trash stereotypes , and were Pollock not himself a product of this environment , the film might easily be accused of punching down at America ’ s rural working class , a group that has rarely been portrayed in sensitive fashion by Hollywood . It doesn ’ t help that the cast largely consists of Europeans and Antipodeans whose strained accents make them sound like they ’ ve all got cotton balls of varying sizes wedged into their gums . On paper it ’ s a hell of a cast , but few of the assembled actors rise above serviceable here . The standout is Pattinson , who embraces how cartoonish the film ’ s character sketches are , and delivers a wildly entertaining turn as the world ’ s creepiest Elvis impersonator . His vocal cadence alone is enough to make your skin crawl . It ’ s never clear whom we ’ re supposed to be investing in here . While Holland ’ s Arvin is the closest we get to a protagonist , he doesn ’ t have a personality of his own . Arvin exists chiefly to witness and be impacted by atrocities , like the young heroes of Come and See and The Painted Bird . Lay it out in linear fashion and The Devil All the Time doesn ’ t have much of a plot either . It ’ s a film that ’ s heavily indebted to two types of movies that were a mainstay of ‘ 90s cinema -

Arvin ’ s simple-minded stepsister , who becomes a target of school bullies and a predatory preacher ( Robert Pattinson ); husband and wife serial killers Carl ( Jason Clarke ) and Sandy Henderson ( Riley Keough ), who lure men to their doom using the latter ’ s physical charms as bait ; yet another creepy preacher ( Harry Melling ) and his crippled , guitar-pickin ’ cohort ( Pokey LaFarge ); and of course , there ’ s the obligatory crooked Sheriff ( a bloated Sebastian Stan ). To a man and woman , all of them are broadly sketched redneck white trash stereotypes , and were Pollock not himself a product of this environment , the film might easily be accused of punching down at America ’ s rural working class , a group that has rarely been portrayed in sensitive fashion by Hollywood . It doesn ’ t help that the cast largely consists of Europeans and Antipodeans whose strained accents make them sound like they ’ ve all got cotton balls of varying sizes wedged into their gums . On paper it ’ s a hell of a cast , but few of the assembled actors rise above serviceable here . The standout is Pattinson , who embraces how cartoonish the film ’ s character sketches are , and delivers a wildly entertaining turn as the world ’ s creepiest Elvis impersonator . His vocal cadence alone is enough to make your skin crawl . It ’ s never clear whom we ’ re supposed to be investing in here . While Holland ’ s Arvin is the closest we get to a protagonist , he doesn ’ t have a personality of his own . Arvin exists chiefly to witness and be impacted by atrocities , like the young heroes of Come and See and The Painted Bird . Lay it out in linear fashion and The Devil All the Time doesn ’ t have much of a plot either . It ’ s a film that ’ s heavily indebted to two types of movies that were a mainstay of ‘ 90s cinema -

NJ STAGE - ISSUE 75

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