Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: John Lee Hancock
Staring: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto
Streaming: HBO MAX
Release Date: January 29, 2021

Oh, the potential. When the trailer for The Little Things hit my eyes, I thought we’d maybe have the next Se7en (1995). Denzel playing the gritty old cop (AKA Somerset), Rami Malek playing the young hot shot (AKA Mills), and the Jared Leto tapping into creepy serial killer (AKA John Doe).

The movie starts. The movie ends.

The Little Things happens, and that is all.

I mentioned the potential, and The Little Things seems to fail in hitting that potential. Something about the chemistry between Washington, Malek and Leto is not blending well. The scene in the interrogation room when Deke Deacon (Denzel Washington) and Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) are questioning Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) should be incredible stuff. It should hop off the page. It is not even a top five moment from this movie.

The ending is ambiguous and pins a lot on the idea of morality and ethics. Director and writer John Lee Hancock tries to knot those strings together with flashbacks to when Deacon was younger on a different case and how a mistake affected his character and career. It is hard to work in thematic and symbolic memories without it appearing cheesy or too blatantly obvious. The Little Things falls into that sink hole.

In terms of a crime drama, The Little Things may have trouble finding footing among fans of the crime/action drama because there is not a lot happening in this story. It is a lot of men talking in rooms. It is a lot of brooding and observing. The Little Things tries to emulate Se7en and the script seems right out of the mid-star Sylvester Stallone vibe, but not even the star power in the movie and the Hollywood desperate charisma of Denzel Washington can save The Little Things from being just adequate.

  • As crazy as it sounds, I do not HATE Jared Leto getting nominated for his efforts as Albert Sparma. Leto is by far the best part of The Little Things. He is playing a different type of movie; playing a loose cannon maniac who the audience can’t trust. Honestly, and I mean this…Leto is tapping a lot into “The Joker” vibes for Sparma.
  • I don’t know what Rami Malek was doing in this movie. He was trying to play a rude, over-confident and still willing to learn cop, but he comes off as so many other different things, I just don’t understand. By the end he is in a downward spin but I think reading this script he just did a dizzy bat spin and walked into every scene.
  • There are instances where Denzel gets to do his patented chuckle and smile. When Deacon enters the repair shop and is talking with the manager and they are trading verbal quips, you see a flash of the man who is a movie star.
  • How STUPID is the moment when the survivor of this killer’s attack sees Sparma. How dumb and stupid is this sequence. It was beyond predictable once the cop left her side.
  • Now this is a full spoiler so if anyone wants to see The Little Things and hasn’t yet, scroll down: Did Sparma do it? Is he the killer? I do not think he was the killer of those women. To quote homicide bureau and LA Country Sheriff Gil Carrillo for Netflix’s The Night Stalker: “He is a freak, but he is not your freak.”

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)

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