2 hours and 7 minutes of my life that I will never get back. Nice.
Late last year, Warner Bros. announced that all of their 2021 film releases would simultaneously release to theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max. The first launch of the year is John Lee Hancock’s slow-burn crime thriller The Little Things.
The story takes place in 1990s Los Angeles and follows Deputy Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) and Detective Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek) as they work to catch a serial killer. Who is their top suspect, you might ask? Well, none other than Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), a rather unsettling individual with a sinister nature. As their obsession with the case deepens, the two officials notice similarities between Jimmy’s current position and Deke’s past unsolved murders.
There’s a temptation to watch The Little Things, solely based on the trailer and the incredibly talented, star-studded cast. A trio of Academy Award winners at the forefront, what could go wrong? A lot.
One of the first things I noticed about this film was the editing. The farther I got into the movie, the less interested I became. This portion of the filmmaking process did little to amplify the mood of each scene. The same goes for the directing — the style was below average and made for an overall bland feature. The writing was poor, full of tacky dialogue and emotionless moments. Though the tone of the film was pretty good, it was too predictable at times. Almost every cliché and storyline in other crime thrillers were included, which led to a predictable and repetitive narrative.
Jared Leto always goes all-in on his roles. Even though he is introduced later in the film, he immediately draws attention. From his almost unrecognizable physicality to his adopted waddle, Leto brings an even more disturbing element to the story and makes the audience question Sparma’s intentions the whole time he is on screen. Throughout his portrayal, Leto reminds you of who he is and how far he goes to nail the part.
As for Rami Malek, it was odd to see him in a role like this. His character was pretty basic, yet he did things that were beyond foolish. There’s a scene in the last act of the film that had me thinking: “How is this man a detective?!”
Though the first half of the movie followed that of a whodunit mystery, it quickly strayed from that into an unremarkable and inconclusive story. The development was tenuous, leading to a weak plot and ending.
Overall, the entire story was a jumbled mess. The Little Things had so much potential; however, in the end, viewers are left with several anticlimactic moments and unanswered questions.
The Little Things is now in theaters and exclusively streaming on HBO Max. The film is rated R violent/disturbing images and language throughout. If you are interested to see this for yourself, check out the trailer here!