When you sit down to watch The Little Things and are halfway through it, now with a constant displeased frown on your face, the one thing that disappoints the most (yeah, there are many) is how an amazing actor like Denzel Washington who is the only brownie point to the story, is being so blatantly wasted here. So, in short, The Little Things perfectly fits the list of bad *cough trash* movies that January is infamous for.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Little Things is everything a good film shouldn’t be– dull, tedious, and too lost in itself to paint a picture worth exploring. What doesn’t help the already sinking story is how much it reminds one of the films like Seven but not in a good way– it’s like Hancock took what he liked from other, much better stories and morphed it in a way that we are left questioning whether the source film was as bad.
The story of The Little Things starts with Joe Deacon (played by Denzel Washington who has been at his same post for years and the only reason we get is that he failed to finish a case years ago, something that still haunts him. As a Sheriff’s deputy in Kern County, he is sent to LA to collect some evidence and ends up finding himself in the middle of a full blow investigation about a long list of grisly serial killings.
The supposedly dynamic detective handling the case is Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek) who doesn’t exactly get off on the right foot with Deke. But just moments later, they begin their weird bromance without giving a reason as to what on Earth changed.
So, Jimmy and Deke join forces to solve the mystery and zero in on a suspect– Albert Sparma (Jared Leto). But he is smart (*eye roll*) and cunning, so they can’t outsmart him and thus they will have to forego their principles to end his evil plans. And if you don’t fall asleep during all this slow storytelling and on-the-nose twists (then you are a superhero), then you will live to see the ending that is kind of good but by the time the ending rolls in, you will find yourself for paying for HBO Max’s costly subscription.
Washington is admirable as Deke and Malek does manage to shine in places but there is only so much a two-man army can do in an over 2-hour snoozefest, that provides the most cliched and unimaginative dialogues to its actors.
The Little Things is the second Warner Bros film to release on HBO Max and the theatres simultaneously. And it seems to have followed the logical rationalization that Patty Jenkins applied to Wonder Woman 1984, that famous faces can lift the lamest scripts. What we are truly afraid of is whether all the upcoming 2021 movies on the platform are going to follow the same trend? Hopefully not.