The Little Things: Film Review

The Little Things

Having Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto – three Oscar winners – in one movie would make you think that it’s a sure-fire hit, so I went in with high expectations for The Little Things – and came away rather disappointed.

The film, set in the ’90s, begins with Joe ‘Deke’ Deacon (Washington), a Deputy Sheriff from the Bakersfield area, who is sent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, his old workplace, to collect evidence for a case. He meets new detective Jimmy Baxter (Malek) who invites him along to a murder scene, which has striking similarities to an old serial murder case Deke was unable to solve. Deke takes leave from his job so he can help Baxter solve it.

The Little Things, written and directed by John Lee Hancock, made me think of ’90s crime thrillers like Seven, Kiss the Girls, and The Bone Collector (another Washington movie) as well as TV procedurals like True Detective so it never stopped feeling unoriginal and familiar. It started off so promising but plateaued shortly after Albert Sparma (Leto) came into the picture because it became less about them working the investigation – finding clues and suspects etc – and more about them being obsessed with nailing this creepy guy; it just didn’t have much of a murder-mystery vibe to it or a ton of substance. I had hoped it was all building to a really cool mind-blowing twist so the final act was anticlimactic and the ambiguity of the ending didn’t do it for me. There are some interesting revelations along the way but not enough to properly reel me in.

Washington is stellar in the lead role. Deke looks tired and defeated and he’s mentally tortured, troubled and could perhaps use some professional help. His partnership with Baxter makes for an unlikely buddy duo but I liked how the two very different men – one who takes an old school approach to the investigation while the other is new – came together to form an alliance for a common cause. While Deke is haunted by his past, Baxter is consumed by the present case and the frustrating inability to nail down Sparma.

There was a lot of uproar on Twitter when Leto got nominated for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards for his transformative role and I don’t get what all the fuss was about. Sure, it’s not an amazing performance, but it doesn’t warrant that reaction. Leto looks very different, having lost a ton of weight to give him a skeletal-looking face, in addition to dark, sunken eyes, dodgy teeth, and very greasy hair that looks like it hasn’t seen shampoo in a long time. He changed his voice and line delivery too to make him successfully come across like a sinister weirdo.

Given the top-tier cast and the strong beginning, it’s a real shame The Little Things became such a let down.

Available to rent at home via premium video-on-demand platforms from Thursday 11th March

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Comments

  1. Agree – the cast was great but the story wasn’t as good. We were lucky enough to see it in cinema here in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hannah Wales says:

      The story really wasn’t good enough! And I’m soooo jealous of you being able to see films in the cinema! 😭

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know – we are very, very spoiled still having open cinemas. I’m thankful for it every week. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah Wales says:

        You’re very lucky! Here in the UK it’s looking like May before we get cinemas back!

        Like

      • 😦 Gosh! How long has it been without them?

        Like

      • Hannah Wales says:

        We got them back between July and November and they’ve been closed ever since then 🙄

        Like

      • Gosh. that’s a lot of missing screentime. Although to be fair the releases we saw in 2020 were a bit … well… they were a bit 2020.

        Like

      • Hannah Wales says:

        Haha I know what you mean! We’ve still had the majority of the movies you’ve had, they’re just coming to VOD and streamers instead! But it seems like you’re getting some blockbusters back in now!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah – and there’s been some films that have gone to VOD/streaming in North America way before we’ve had access to them here, and some streamer made movies that have gone bigscreen. It’s a wild time period for everything. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah Wales says:

        It sure is a wild time! It’s so hard to keep on top of all the changing release dates!

        Liked by 1 person

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