By Megan Bianco
Acclaimed English film actor Robert Pattinson has come a long way since his vampire days as the male lead in the Twilight flicks, and his most recent releases are no exception. The first is Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi epic Tenet; the second is a gritty drama in Antonio Campos’ adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s 2011 novel The Devil All the Time.
These two ensemble pieces could not be more different from each other outside of Pattinson’s casting. Let’s take a look at both and see how well they lived up to RPattz fans’ expectations.
With both films, Pattinson steps aside from the lead role to be a supporting character. In Tenet, we follow the story’s protagonist, played by John David Washington, while he is trained to manipulate time in order to prevent another world war from breaking out. Pattinson, Aaron Johnson and Clémence Poésy are a few of the big names aiding Washington to save the day from a supervillain played by Kenneth Branagh. Elizabeth Debicki edges dangerously close to a damsel in distress trope as the female lead, but fortunately is redeemed by the third act.
So, after all the hoopla about the blockbuster not getting its theater experience because of COVID-19, film fans were still blessed with Tenet’s release, albeit two months later than scheduled. The feature itself is still essentially what you get in the majority of Nolan’s movies. The action sequences, casting, cinematography, special effects and (most of) the music score are top notch, but are ultimately sandwiched between some stale dialogue and stiff comic relief. Tenet isn’t Memento (2000) or The Prestige (2006), but doesn’t feel as hokey as The Dark Knight Rises (2012) or Interstellar (2014) either.
The Devil All the Time piqued my interest with the incredible amount of talent recruited for the cast. With so many story and character arcs throughout this mid-20th century southern gothic crime piece, there isn’t a sole lead, but Tom Holland’s role comes close. Pattinson, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Mia Wasikowska, Haley Bennett and Eliza Scanlen play a slew of dysfunctional West Virginia and Ohio locals.
If there’s one thing to complain about in this potential-filled film, and it has been noted quite a bit, it’s the distracting and unnecessary use of narration. Well-done voice over should always inform the audience of new information or details that the characters or footage don’t. The narration in The Devil does neither and just tells us pointlessly what we already know for two hours.
This is a seriously stellar group of actors, and I was previously impressed with Campos’ direction on Christine (2016), but The Devil feels mostly like a missed opportunity.
While the two new movies are flawed, it’s still a good month for Robert Pattinson fans. His two performances, whether as a suave espionage agent in Tenet or a sleazy preacher in The Devil All the Time, are a reminder of just how much range and versatility the actor has.
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