Movie #68 2021: The Little Things (2021)

Can you tell that I’m trying to wade through this year’s Golden Globe nominations? Awards ceremonies are generally ridiculous every year anyway, so there’s bound to be a few duds among the nominees. Sadly, this was one of them.

The Little Things premiered last year on HBO Max in The States and somehow managed to become the most streamed movie on the streaming platform in its opening weekend, perhaps purely due to the all-star cast. It’s a classic serial killer mystery, with Denzel Washington playing an ex-deputy sheriff who teams up with a current detective named Baxter (Rami Malek) in order to catch the perpetrator. Washington’s ‘Deke’ has secrets in his past however, and therefore he must wrestle his past with the present situation. Jared Leto plays Albert Sparma; the main person of interest in the case.

At one point, one of the characters quips “Deke’s got his own style”. It’s a shame, then, that this movie doesn’t. It all sounds pretty dark and interesting, but the tedious dialogue paired with the film’s slow moving action makes for a meaningless and pointless film.

Honestly it feels like John Lee Hancock (director of The Founder, The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, among other things) read a lot of crime fiction during lockdown and thought that made him qualified to write this script. There’s little to nothing content-wise that we’ve not all seen before and it’s very much your bog standard serial killer/detective plot that ultimately leads nowhere, with the plot twist being nothing short of anti-climactic. Painstakingly average in storytelling terms.

What I did enjoy was the dark, moody aesthetic of it all. Very neo-noir crime thriller in the purest sense of the word. The blue/green colouring was indeed very effective and the lighting made it all seem more interesting than it actually was. Unfortunately, lighting alone doesn’t make a great movie. Quite evident is the fact that Hancock should stick to directing rather than writing any more drivel to equal this.

Not only is the writing shocking (and not in a good way), but Rami Malek – dare I say – overacts in this role. I just did not buy him as this character and it seemed like he was trying to amp up his performance because he knew he’d been miscast through no fault of his own. Of course Denzel was as good as ever, and (sadly) Jared Leto was suitably unhinged and creepy as the suspect. Life imitates art, I guess 🤷🏻‍♀️

Detective movies have a long history in having completely cheesy and ridiculous soundtracks, but The Little Things takes the biscuit for most awful I’ve seen (or heard) in a long time. “I Will Follow Him” playing on the radio as they l i t e r a l l y follow their suspect around the city? A little on the nose, don’t you think?

When it comes down to it, The Little Things is way too long and completely unoriginal, but I was actually pretty engaged throughout most of it for some reason. Maybe that’s because I’m a sucker for crime thrillers? Well at least there were a couple of good performances to explain why I may have mildly enjoyed it up until the unsatisfying ending.

On the whole, it’s easy to see why Leto earned himself a Globe nomination for this one, but I’d give it a resounding miss if I were you.

The Little Things was due to be released in UK cinemas last month but will most likely now be moved to Amazon Prime Video in the coming weeks.

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