Released: 18 February
Seen: 25th August
The Little Things is a police drama about a pair of cops hunting down a serial killer. The cops consist of one wild card cop, Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington), and one straight laced rule following cop, Det. Jim Baxter (Rami Malek). Together they make quite a strange pair as they hunt for their killer. It looks like they might have it when they run into oddball Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) and they focus heavily on him but could the difficulties of their job make them unable to actually solve the crime? It certainly seems to stop them from making a film that’s as exciting as it should be considering the talent that’s on screen… yeah, there’s so little to talk about with this one that one of MY reviews starts with the plot instead of a wild tangent, I’m just as shocked as you are.
The big thing that The Little Things has going for it is that main cast which is absolutely to its benefit. The entire main trio of actors are Oscar winners and have more than proven themselves to be formidable talents. By rights this trio of talented actors should be enough to carry The Little Things over the finish line into something interesting but the problem is that these actors are working with just boring foundations thanks to the script they have to read and the characters they’ve been given. Even when they are doing their damndest, they can’t make this work.
The Little Things puts a large amount of its time on how hard it is to be a cop and the toll that can take on the lives involved, which could be a very interesting story if it was possible to give a damn about any of the cops involved. They certainly try, there’s moments when you can almost see yourself giving a damn about someone (normally in the scenes where we’re seeing Baxter’s family), but for the most part, I’m just seeing Denzel and Rami and I wish more than anything that was as interesting as it sounds.
There are moments where The Little Things has the potential to work, largely the actual moments of investigation when they’re either sneaking into Sparma’s house to look for evidence or the big interrogation scene. There’s the idea of something potentially interesting and the actors give it their all, but it just feels like there’s something missing and I really shouldn’t feel like there’s something missing in a 2-hour film. There’s something off here, maybe it’s just a lot of scenes got cut, maybe it’s the soundtrack that feels absolutely wrong in every scene to the point where you wonder if they borrowed the score from a 1990s tv movie about witches, but it just never fully works.
The biggest problem in The Little Things by far is Leto, who is in a completely different movie with a completely different tone that never gels with anything else. Jared Leto has always been the kind of person to give 110% and sometimes that works well, but a lot of times it just feels like it’s way too much and oh my god is his performance here way too much. You can tell he’s trying to be the weird oddball, like John Doe in Seven, except he’s a borderline cartoon character who looks like he hasn’t slept or bathed in months (which is admittedly a mood I think we all understand after the last year and a half, but I don’t wanna see Leto doing a hyperactive version of it). It’s such a bad performance that it baffles me that it was a Golden Globe nominee this year (but then again so was Music… can’t say I’m sad that THAT award ceremony is dead).
Look, I wanted to like The Little Things. The actors are usually very interesting, the story is fairly similar to things that’ve been easy to enjoy in the past, it looks pretty and has enough visual flair that it’s not painful to look at… but at the end of the day, as far as being entertaining goes, the best it has to offer is a chance to laugh at one actor going off the rails while the other two are trying to do a serious drama and there’s only so much milage you can get out of that. Maybe, MAYBE if this is on TV late at night and you happen to come across it then it might be worth a look but it isn’t worth going out of your way for and certainly not worth spending money to sit through.