Parents' Guide to

The Devil You Know

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Crime drama is diverse but has violence, lackluster story.

Movie R 2022 116 minutes
The Devil You Know Movie Poster

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This movie wants to be two films at once, and it doesn't quite seem to know how to meld its more tender moments into its crime drama storyline. Because of this, The Devil You Know is confusing, especially when you get to the end. While it's supposed to be about a man's moral conflict about turning his brother in, the film ultimately seems more interested in portraying a Black family on-screen.

Indeed, the moments with just the family are the film's best. There's realism between the actors, with the movie expertly showcasing a Black family that's focused on togetherness, love, and selflessness. It might have worked better if The Devil You Know had been a more standard family drama, like Soul Food, since that's where writer-director Charles Murray shines the most. It's once the film starts trying to tell a morality story loosely pulling from the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel that things get fuzzy and don't feel fully worked out. It's hard to reconcile the movie's beautiful family moments with the idea that some of the family members would want to turn a blind eye to injustice. Pair that with Ealy not having much to do in the film, and The Devil You Know is a good premise helmed by a filmmaker who seems only half-invested.

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