The Little Things Review By B. Gunn
(In my Keith Morrison voice) Will the new film, “The Little Things,” set a bold new standard for crime thrillers, or…will it…just faaaaade away into nothingness?
When it comes to great crime thrillers, you may immediately think of movies like “Seven”, “Along Came A Spider”, or the iconic “The Silence of the Lambs”.
While all of these are undoubtedly classics, none of them are better than the granddaddy of all crime thrillers – “Dateline NBC!”
Well, it seems the good people at Warner Bros. and Grand Via Productions are trying to challenge my bliss by teaming three of Hollywood’s giants to wreak havoc on the crime thriller game.
“The Little Things” stars heavyweights Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto.
Washington plays Joe “Deke” Deacon, a former Los Angeles detective, who teams up with his replacement, Jim Baxter (Malek) to catch a serial killer.
The film is set in 1990 and has a noir-type feel. Fun fact – this screenplay was actually written back in 1993 and had some prominent directors attached to it. So, now it pops up in the 21st century and I’m guessing it’s supposed to take us back to a time when crimes were harder to solve.
Well, I’m still guessing. In fact, I’m still guessing a lot about this film. Like, why would three Oscar winners want to attach themselves to such a script?
The opening scene does what it’s supposed to do: Draw the audience in. After that, we get the backstory from the main characters and dialogue where they get to flex and show us why they are some of the world’s best entertainers.
Here’s the problem; the dialogue shows off their acting abilities, but bores the audience. Most noir films are slow, I get that. What I don’t understand is why would you have a noir film with such amazing talent that makes a slow film even slower?
I don’t think there were any consultants on set, either, because the director has these guys doing things that normal cops would NOT do in certain situations. In fact, they’d be dead three times over if they followed such procedures.
Leto’s character, Albert Sparma, is the prime suspect and he does add a bit of creepiness, which moves the scenes along and injects suspense and tension. (He’s one creepy-a$$ dude, folks.)
Even Deke is a bit of an enigma. His backstory slowly develops throughout the movie and you see why he’s so…determined.
Malek just isn’t believable as a detective. He doesn’t fit the part. If I was pulled over by him, I wouldn’t be intimated at all. Well, maybe if he pulled out his gun. Nah. I still wouldn’t be.
I could not find any reason why this would be a throwback movie. It doesn’t even have a 90’s feel. There is zero nostalgia.
Let’s say the setting is because they had no technology to catch this killer as I stated earlier. Ok, well, why don’t you re-write the script for this time period, so the killer can still be elusive even with updated tech. That’s not hard to do.
There is a plot-twist that is clever, but it’s almost too little, too late. Some actors are underutilized as well (Natalie Morales deserved more screen time!). With a powerhouse cast like this, I was expecting fireworks like we saw at the Presidential Inauguration.
Instead, I got a few loud firecrackers and a couple of sparklers.
I’m giving “The Little Things” a Straight-to-Streaming co-sign. It doesn’t move the crime thriller needle at all. Maybe if they had Keith Morrison on the vocals doing the narration.
Somebody call “Dateline NBC!”
Did you watch the film? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.