REVIEW: “The Little Things” is a stock crime thriller led by great performances

“However, ‘The Little Things’ directed by John Lee Hancock is not drivel, it’s just mostly formulaic, which is a huge step-up from the usual flicks released in January,” Staff Writer Zachary Weinberger says.


Image courtesy of Warner Bros & HBO Max.

Zachary Weinberger, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This review was originally in the Feb. 15 “Catching You UP” newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

God bless you if you watch movies released in January.

While people may celebrate the new year, especially after a terrible 2020, the one dark side of a new calendar year is the drivel of films that are released in January. Call it the “no man’s land” of film releases.

However, “The Little Things” directed by John Lee Hancock is not drivel, it’s just mostly formulaic, which is a huge step-up from the usual flicks released in the month.

The new movie which is out on HBOMax and in theaters is mostly a stock crime-cop thriller but is carried by performances from Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto.

The film follows Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon (Washington) and Los Angeles detective Tim Baxter (Malek) as they try to find a serial killer who’s been wreaking havoc across L.A. Deacon was a former detective and is experiencing deja vu as the murders are oddly similar to when he was on a case before.

Sounds like every other film involving the police right? Right.

I couldn’t help but think that this would be a straight-to-DVD release if it wasn’t for the star power. While the movie goes through the same motion, there is some creative direction here by Hancock that warrants some attention.

Washington and Malek deliver great chemistry with each other and made the movie all the more interesting when they were trying to crack the case. The best part about their characters was that the script went more in-depth and the self-conflict they have throughout the runtime. They’re more than just standard members of the force, they have lives beyond the badge and even some moments in the past they would like to forget.

Leto also delivers an eerie, disturbing performance as Albert Sparma. He’s the key suspect that Baxter and Deacon are after and while Sparma acts in a way of a serial killer, his main goal is to play with the detectives, get under their skin. Sounds like another role played by Leto that he’s soon to be reprised.

The film also delivers an end that isn’t formulaic as the first two acts are, which ties the movie into a bow.

If you’re a fan of crime thrillers, this is your cup of tea and hits all the right buttons. If not, the familiarity with the genre could hamper your enjoyment.

The film is led by three great performances, an ending that leaves you wondering and has its moments of delving into the main characters that makes the film three-dimensional.

It does follow the same tropes as every other flick in the genre, which bogs the movie down to a mediocre level.

It’s still worth a watch if you’re into it, but for me and with all the positives and negatives, there is one word I would use to describe this film that Baxter would hate hearing.

It’s “inconclusive.”

Zachary Weinberger is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.