The Little Things: A Solid Yet Flawed Film


Warner Bros. Pictures

This 2021 thriller receives mixed reviews from the critics.

Mason Baylis, Contributor

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The Little Things, set in the 1990s, stars Denzel Washington as an emotionally tormented cop, Joe Deacon (nicknamed Deke), and is directed and written by John Lee Hancock, who also wrote 2009’s The Blind Side. Washington shares the screen with Rami Malik whose character, Detective Baxter, is investigating a series of murders in Los Angeles. The cast is joined by another Oscar winner, Jared Leto, who plays the suspected serial killer, Albert Sparma. 

Deke, who now works at a more northern district, is still as a cop; he comes back to his old district to receive help in obtaining evidence for a crime he is working on. One thing leads to another, and lead Detective Baxter asks Deke to tag along during a murder investigation. Eventually Deke becomes engrossed with the case, believing that this murder is connected to a previous case that drove him to have a heart attack and a divorce. 

The main suspect is Albert Sparma, a self-described crime buff who holds a sinister amount of tranquility. Both Deke and Detective Baxter become obsessed with catching him since they believe he is the murderer. As the movie progresses, it flashes back to the night of Deke’s first encounter with the case that seemingly destroyed him. As the action escalates, Detective Baxter and Deke are blinded with determination to catch Sparma before the FBI is called to take over the case. 

All and all, the movie is very watchable. Denzel Washington performs as well as he does in all of his roles. The emotional calmness he possesses in his scenes consistently gives audiences insight into why he is one of the best actors of all time. Truly, the movie is worth watching singularly for Washington’s performance. Where the movie starts to stale is with Rami Malek’s performance. It feels as though Malek is miscast in the role.  His motives are not well developed; this hurts a movie driven by motives. 

Jared Leto’s performance is enjoyable as the movie progresses. Of course, the conclusion of the movie leads viewers to wonder if Leto was the killer after all, considering that no evidence was found, nor were there any bodies that were connected to him. 

The main theme of the movie is the complexity of  human morality and defining justice. Overall the movie was solid, but it isn’t a movie that will be winning best picture at the Oscars or getting mass fan acclaim. Yet, for fans of Se7ven or Zodiac, this is a good movie to watch. It won’t live up to the same standards, but in times of a pandemic, new content is rare. With the opportunity to watch it at home, this movie is worth seeing, especially to discover how it ends.

The Little Things is available in theaters, and on HBO Max, as it is part of the 2021 WarnerMedia decision to show all of its theatrical movies simultaneously on HBO Max, their streaming service. This is the second of its kind released, the first being Wonder Women 1984, which was released Christmas 2020. 


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