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Tom Holland Fans Are Right, He’s Excellent In The Devil All The Time

Tom Holland‘s character in The Devil All The Time is pretty much as far from Peter Parker as it gets. Though both are orphans with traumatic pasts, where Peter Parker is nerdy and soft, Arvin Russell is violent and hardened. Peter Parker talks a mile-a-minute and is fluent in pop culture references, while Arvin Russell is a man of few words with a soft, southern drawl. Peter Parker webs his enemies down for the police to handle legally; Arvin Russell beats his bullies into a bloody pulp. Yet Holland more than rises to the challenge of a new kind of role in this Netflix thriller, which premiered today, and fans couldn’t be happier.

Some fans called Holland “one of the greatest actors of this generation,” for the performance, while others thought it is “by far his best performance of his career.” Of course, some were most interested in the slicked-back-hair-cigarette-smoking aesthetic of Arvin, which is, admittedly, a great look for the Spider-Man star.

Stan culture tends to lead to hyperbole, but in this case the praise is well-earned. Holland totally embodies the character of Arvin, from the voice to the physicality to the lived trauma etched in every line of his face. Arvin is morally ambiguous, to be sure, but he’s the closest thing this movie has to someone you can root for, and that’s in no small part thanks to Holland’s obvious sympathy for his character, a boy with a big heart who, through no real fault of his own, leads an almost comically horrible life. In a previous interview with Decider, director Antonio Campos attested to Holland’s dedication to the role, which he called “methodical.”

“He really wanted to change his physical appearance,” Campos said. “He wanted to get a little skinnier, a little scrappier. He wanted to nail the accent, and diligently studied the details of it. He got it into his bones. And he wanted to go to the dark places he had to go. He wanted to understand the trauma that this kid had gone through as a child; what his father was like.”

Campos said he reached out the Spider-Man star about playing Arvin after seeing him the 2012 disaster film, The Impossible. Once he started working with him, he found that Holland was more than just a talented actor; he was “just a very soulful, good person.”

“I think that the combination with that inherent goodness in him, and his ability as an actor to embody another person’s experience led to this wonderful performance,” Campos said.

That said, The Devil All The Time is not an easy watch, and some of Holland’s fans may want to brace themselves for many bleak, unpleasant, and upsetting scenes. Based on the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, this is not a happy story by any stretch of the imagination. You should be prepared to see scenes dealing with animal abuse, suicide, sexual abuse, and pretty much any terrible thing you think of. But if you can stomach that, you’ll be rewarded with some top-notch Acting with a capital A from Holland. I have a feeling our spider-boy will be going onto great things when his time with Marvel is up.

Watch The Devil All The Time on Netflix

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