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I've been doing wrong and I wanna get right by the Lord.
~ Arvin Russell.


No, she was just lonely.
~ Arvin to Preston Teagardin, before killing him.


I'm not a bad person, sheriff. That preacher weren't no good. He hurt my sister so bad. She killed herself, sheriff, I had no choice.
~ Arvin to Lee Bodecker.


Arvin Eugene Russell is the anti-heroic main protagonist of The Devil All the Time, a novel by Donald Ray Pollock, and its 2020 film adaptation.

He is Emma's grandson, Willard and Charlotte's son, Earskell's great-nephew, and Lenora's adoptive older brother. Arvin can be considered an anti-hero in the second half of the film due to his father committing suicide, but his act is protective and moral as a brother always protecting his adoptive sister. After Lenora's death, he takes revenge on the person who is responsible, Preston Teagardin.

As a young adult, Arvin is portrayed by Tom Holland, who also portrays Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Cherry in the 2021 film of the same name, Todd Hewitt in Chaos Walking, and Nathan Drake in Uncharted, and voices Walter Beckett in Spies in Disguise, Jip in Dolittle, and Ian Lightfoot in Onward.

As a kid, he is portrayed by Michael Banks Repeta.

Biography

Arvin Eugene Russell was born in 1948, Knockemstiff, Ohio to Willard and Charlotte Russell, and is the great-nephew of Earskell.

In 1948, he was born in Knockemstiff, Ohio. His mother Charlotte got cancer, causing his father Willard to resort to increasingly cruel means to save her, culminating in sacrificing the family dog Jack. Charlotte dies and Willard commits suicide, leaving Arvin to live with his grandmother Emma Russell, great-uncle Earskell and Emma's adopted granddaughter Lenora Laferty.

In 1965, on Arvin's 17th birthday, great-uncle Earskell gives Arvin a luger that Arvin's father brought back from the war. At church, there is a new preacher, Reverend Preston Teagardin. At the church's welcome potluck dinner, Preston embarrasses Emma by insulting her fried chicken liver contribution. This unnecessary cruel act by the preacher raises suspicions in Arvin. A few days later, Arvin violently beats up a group of bullies who had been picking on Lenora. Lenora is seduced by Preston, who forces her to have sex with him.

Subsequently, Lenora, seeing that she is pregnant, tells Preston. Preston denies it could have happened and implies that she should have an abortion. Not wanting to bring shame to the family, Lenora decides to hang herself in the family barn. While standing on a water bucket with the rope around her neck, she realizes she and her baby would be "all right" after all and changes her mind. While trying to remove the rope, she accidentally slips and strangles. Her body is found by Arvin, who attempts to help her, but she's already gone.

After Lenora's autopsy is performed, Arvin is told that she was pregnant. He suspects that Preston was the father. He stealthily follows Preston and sees him seduce and rape another girl. After giving a goodbye to Emma and Earskell, Arvin confronts Preston at the church and kills him with the luger. He flees town. Before leaving the area, he wants to give his dog Jack a proper burial, so Arvin begins traveling to Knockemstiff. His pickup truck breaks down and he begins to hitchhike. He is picked up by Carl and Sandy Henderson. Carl starts his depraved ritual that will lead up to a murder. When Arvin sees Carl carrying a gun, he realizes Carl's intention to kill him and understands that his life is in danger. Using the luger, he preemptively kills Carl and subsequently kills Sandy to defend himself. He looks through the car and finds a photo of Sandy and an obviously murdered corpse In flagrante delicto) along with several rolls of film. Arvin continues his journey to Knockemstiff.

Lee, the Sheriff, learns of Preston, Sandy, and Carl's deaths. He is certain that Arvin is the prime suspect for Preston's murder. Being concerned about what Carl and Sandy were up to, he goes to their apartment and finds Carl's darkroom and extensive photo collection of Carl's serial killings from over the many years. As Lee does not want to risk having his image harmed, he burns the evidence. He then sets out to apprehend Arvin.

Arvin reaches Knockemstiff and goes to the "prayer clearing" so he can bury the bones of his dog Jack. Lee shows up, walks up through the woods carrying a shotgun and calling out to Arvin. They confront each other at the "prayer clearing", Lee with the shotgun and Arvin with the luger. Shots are exchanged and Arvin manages to mortally wound Lee. Before Lee dies, Arvin confronts Lee with the picture of Sandy which he found in Carl's car. Lee dies. Arvin leaves the photo and the several rolls of film so some evidence of Carl's serial killing spree can be revealed. He then buries Jack's bones and the luger under the log in the "prayer clearing".

Arvin leaves Knockemstiff. He begins hitchhiking and is picked up by a hippie heading to Cincinnati. During the drive, Arvin is very tired and tries hard not to fall asleep as he is in a car with a stranger. He daydreams about his childhood, and contemplates his future as possibly a husband or as a soldier in the Vietnam War, like his father was.

Trivia

  • Despite being the main protagonist, Arvin doesn't appear forty six minutes into the film.

See Also

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