The Devil All The Time ending explained: What did it even mean?

The director has said there are many moral interpretations


Netflix has just released a new film which is getting everyone talking – The Devil All The Time. Now, everyone may be talking about it because it stars Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson, but the psychological thriller, directed by Antonio Campos, also covers dark themes of religion, trauma, death and murder. The conclusion is a deep dive into what all of these themes could cause moving forward. It’s no surprise if you feel you need the ending of The Devil All The Time explained to you – it’s pretty deep.

*Contains spoilers*

In short, pretty much most of the characters in the film die. Apart from Arvin (played by Tom Holland) who is seen hitch-hiking after just killing the Sherif. Arvin gets picked up by a passerby, and sits in the front of the car desperately trying to not fall asleep. As he drifts off, the radio is heard talking about the number of troops heading off to Vietnam being upped and the narrator talks about how Arvin is undecided on his future and could start a family. The voiceover also says that Arvin is in mental turmoil, not knowing if he’s going forwards or backwards, or if the law would see that he was doing what he thought was right.

The Devil All The Time, ending explained, Netflix, conclusion, end, explained, meaning, morals, Arvin, Tom Holland, theories

via Netflix

Here is the ending of The Devil All The Time on Netflix explained

The ending is fairly open, and murky to say the least. It’s meant to test your morals and what you believe would be best for Arvin. Does he deserve a fresh start and the chance to start a family? Should he go to war and fight for his country – in a situation where it is seen as “ok” for him to continue killing people? Should he turn himself in and let the law decide his fate? Ultimately, does he deserve forgiveness?

The director of The Devil All The Time has explained the ending, saying:  “I like endings that leave you with the hope for something better but the chance for something else and you have to kind of pick your own version of it.”

Antonio Campos added: “We felt that if there was even a glimmer of hope at the end of this very dark journey then that would be very welcome and appropriate. So we wrote this fading to sleep kind of end where he enters a kind of dream-state and in that there’s the suggestion of freewill. He could settle down and start a family or he could go and enlist in the Vietnam War, but he hasn’t decided one way or another.

“I think that the ending of the movie is giving you a little bit of a reprieve from the darkness and the weight and the violence. So that in and of itself feels hopeful.”

The Devil All The Time, ending explained, Netflix, conclusion, end, explained, meaning, morals, Arvin, Tom Holland, theories

via Netflix

The man who gives Arvin a lift at the end may have purposely been made to look like Jesus, to represent a new life for Arvin on the path to forgiveness, given the religious themes of the film. The man is also in the credits as “Hippie”, which again could mean a new lifestyle for Arvin.

The entire feel of the ending is like a never ending loop. Arvin’s father Williard left town to go to war and fell in love with Charlotte (Arvin’s mother), but ultimately he could never escape his trauma. Is this the same fate Arvin will have?

The Devil All The Time is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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