#REVIEW: “THE LITTLE THINGS”
By Mr. Will Wong
John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) writes and directs THE LITTLE THINGS, a ’90s-set Psychological Thriller, which centers on a string of murders in Los Angeles. While the Film is considerably darker material than what we’re used to from him, it does manage to grab our attention, keeping us just uncomfortable enough through its two-hour run time.
Both on the case are LAPD Detective Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek) and Kern County Deputy Sherriff Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) and while they are on the case for different reasons, their clash in style successfully lands them in striking range of their suspect, Albert Sparma (Jared Leto). With the suspect always one step ahead of the duo and their evidence incomplete, Jimmy and Joe must rely on their instincts and intricate details they’ve compiled in their investigation, to solve this case.
When you pair three Oscar winners together, this can be a recipe for success or disaster in terms of defining the focus of the story, however Hancock balances screen time well between Washington and Malik in telling the story. Washington‘s Joe is obsessed with finding the killer and is just about willing to do anything to get there, whether it be talking to corpses in his best John Q. tone or posting the victims’ photos on his bedroom wall, shining a flashlight on them. Malek is criticized for taking on this case for the sake of his ego, but like Joe, gets ahead of himself and we wonder if that will threaten to destroy everything they have worked towards. Leto while seen the least, is cast well, dangling just enough bait to frustrate not only Joe and Jimmy, but also us. The struggle here never is who did it, it’s how they are going to get them.
THE LITTLE THINGS succeeds in creating a sense of eeriness and suspense. There were however, missed opportunities in completing the story from the side of the victims and what their deaths meant to those they left behind. And because of this, finding their killer loses a bit of its purpose. Crafting who Albert was and why he was so odd was a missing piece also, in addition to building-up some intensity around him being pursued so intently by Joe and Jimmy, could better have been explored. Typically at the end of the hunt for a serial killer is a feeling of relief and catharticism and we never quite get there.
Warner Bros. Canada release THE LITTLE THINGS on Premium Video-on-Demand and in theatres where available Friday, January 29, 2021.
*Please ensure you exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre.*