Movie Review: “The Little Things” Is A Little Incomplete


Story Peyton Tranas / Contributing Writer

Photos by Slate, IMDB, Vulture.

Released on Friday, John Lee Hancock’s newest film, “The Little Things,” presents itself as yet another old and beloved genre from previous decades: a ‘90s crime-based psychological thriller. Here to bring back even more nostalgia is their lead actor: Denzel Washington. 

In terms of how the story develops and ends, it’s quite different than anything I’ve ever seen before.

The film follows Washington’s character, Joe “Deke” Deacon, a detective turned Deputy Sheriff due to a dark secret from his past.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” star Rami Malek also co-stars as a fresh and young LASD Detective, Jim Baxter. The two work together to find a serial killer that has been targeting women in the Los Angeles area. The film is set in 1990 and even mentions that they haven’t had this much of a problem since the Night Stalker killings. 

Washington and Malek star in John Lee Hancock’s newest film release on HBO Max, “The Little Things.”

Deke acquired his reputation as an officer because he always noticed the little things in cases in order to crack a case and put the perpetrator behind bars. So, although Deke has been demoted for an unknown reason, Baxter wants him on the case. 

Apart from the opening scene, the film starts off rather slow. Throughout the whole film, I was waiting for “that” moment to happen: where everything changes and the tone is set for the rest of the film.

Viewers got a glimpse of that moment when Jared Leto walked onto the screen. Leto plays Albert Sparma, an overall creep who gets hard-ons from picturing scenarios of how you would kill someone. Because of these deviant characteristics, Albert is naturally the prime suspect in Deke and Baxter’s eyes, but they don’t quite have the evidence they need to put him away– yet. 

Leto joins the film’s star-studded cast as an antagonist.

Going into the film, I expected the typical crime-thriller plot: detectives work the case, find a suspect, use extreme measures to get evidence and/or catch the perpetrator, and ultimately catch the perpetrator in a dramatic ending scene. This movie was not that. It left you wanting more, strictly due to many of those key plotlines being left unanswered.

The performances by Washington, Malek, and Leto were remarkable, but the plot lacked direction. When the film was ending, it seemed like that should have been the scene that plays moments before they get an insane break in the case. There was closure for the individual characters, but not the plot. Additionally, I did not expect Leto to be the “star” of a film that features Denzel Washington. Perhaps if you went in knowing the film wasn’t your typical thriller, the ending would have been more satisfying. But for me, someone who is used to 90s crime thrillers such as “Kiss the Girls” and “The Bone Collector,” it felt incomplete.

I recommend watching the film to gather your own opinions. Was the movie award season worthy? Does it measure up to past crime thrillers starring Denzel Washington? Did you think the ending was satisfying or did it leave you wondering what was next? Lastly, would this film have fit better if it was actually released in the ‘90s, considering the script was written 30 years ago?

To answer the last question: I believe it would have.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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