The next film released both in theaters (where safe) and on HBO Max by Warner Media hit the screen this weekend with the new Denzel Washington movie, The Little Things.
John Lee Hancock reportedly wrote this screen play for The Little Things in the 90s, but could not get it sold to a studio. Finally, he made the decision to be his own director and, because of the differences in time frame, this movie certainly has a feel of a 1990s thriller.
Washington played Joe Deacon, a former homicide detective who had a mysterious case that caused him to leave the LA police and become a local sheriff’s deputy. The case stuck with Joe, leading to a heart attack and a world of pain and anguish. When another case arrived in which Joe saw similarities, he returned to the LA police in hopes of putting the past behind him. He met up with a young star detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) and they begin to unofficially work together. The investigation led them to a real lowlife named Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), who they believed was their man. However, the film continued to make it unclear whether or not Sparma was indeed guilty of the murders.
There is no doubt that the cast of The Little Things is the standout piece of the film. Denzel Washington, Jared Let and Rami Malek all exceed in their performances, elevating the material that is on the page. The story of this film is nothing that you haven’t seen before and the reason this is not a total waste of time is because of these three actors.
Denzel in particular was exceptional as the aging officer who is haunted by his past. You can see the weight of the world on the shoulders of this character and you can see how he did not handle the weight very well. It cost him his marriage, his job and health.
Leto too does his normal transformation into a sleazeball character that the audience can despise. Yet, the film does a strong job of keeping the uncertainty of the guilt of the character in question.
I have seen some complaints about the third act of the film being unsatisfying, but I did not get that vibe. In fact, I thought the end was decent as it gives us a hint at what was going on.
The film does an admirable job of creating the atmosphere of the moment, giving it that throwback feel and making you wonder how these detectives could maintain their sanity dealing with the horrors on a regulars basis.
Again though, the biggest issue with the movie is that the story is cliché-ridden and without the great cast, it would not stand out of the genre at all. This one is not for everybody, but if you are a fan of Denzel Washington, he provides his usual strong work and has a nice interaction with Rami Malek. For me, this one is right on the border between recommendation and not.