The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.
There are good/great movies out there, and then there are bad movies. With a good or great movie, it is a dream come true for a cinephile. There is also a category of movies that are disappointing. Those are probably the hardest ones to digest. With a bad movie, it’s simply bad and you move on with your day. With a disappointing movie, it leaves behind a lot of “what ifs.” With “The Little Things,” it is a film which is filled with possibilities and even individual moments that really shine on screen. However, when it’s all said and done, having watched it twice now, it is very forgettable and run-of-the-mill. It’s disappointing because you expect more considering some of the participants involved.
Denzel Washington leads this cast, and he’s stellar as always in the part of deputy sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon. This is someone who used to be higher up on the police department food chain until he had a heart attack, a divorce, and some personal problems. He let the job consume him and eat away at his soul. His replacement, Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek), has more of a calm, cool and collected approach in his role as lead detective. Their paths cross because Jimmy realizes he can lean on Deke for advice and wisdom. Deke sees it as a win-win because a case Jimmy is working is quite similar to a case he has never been able to let go of in his personal and professional life. Those around Jimmy warn him not to become like Deacon, as he is a cautionary tale of what happens when a detective gets too caught up in his work.
They are both hot on the trail of suspect Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), a crime buff who seems to enjoy toying with both Deke and Jimmy. Jimmy has a hunch that Albert checks all of his boxes, and Deacon feels the same way. They begin to follow him and look into more of his personal life. This is where I felt the film started to fall apart. While I think Jared Leto is a fantastic actor, his performance here is very showy and over-the-top. He’s an Academy Award-winning actor, which is also the case with Washington and Malek. Washington can do this familiar role in his sleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of Malek, and he didn’t do anything in this film to win me over.
As far as the story, we have seen an uptick in popularity when it comes to stories involving murder mysteries and crime. It is all the rage on a number of streaming platforms. People are fascinated by their motives and what makes them tick. While I can understand the fascination with these stories, they are a little overdone at the moment. With “The Little Things,” it doesn’t really take any chances or add anything new to this genre. It is your standard crime thriller. There is only one other suspect in the film, and he’s not at all memorable or interesting. This is a film that was solely relying on the fact it has three Academy Award winners headlining it. This story has been done before in the past with a lot more weight, depth, and intensity.
The film is also too long as it runs at 128 minutes. It would have been just fine at one hour and forty-five minutes. I will say I did enjoy the ending, and it’s an interesting look at the emotional trauma and stress which detectives endure when they are struggling to solve a case. It works on that level, but it is not enough to recommend this movie as anything more than a one-time Redbox rental. Once again, I had high hopes for “The Little Things,” but in the end, the little things here made the difference in this film being an average one instead of a good or a great one.
* * out of * * * *
“The Little Things” is released on a single-disc Blu-ray which comes with a digital code from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. It has a running time of 128 minutes and is rated R for violent/disturbing images, language, and full nudity.
Video and Audio Info:
The 1800p high-definition transfer really brings out the eerie and moody look of the film. This is a dark and bleak looking film, which you would expect from a film with this type of subject matter. The audio formats are DTS-HD MA: English 5.1, English Descriptive Audio, and Dolby Digital: French and Spanish. Subtitles are included in English, French, and Spanish.
The Little Things-Four Shades of Blue
A Contrast in Styles
Should You Buy It?
A lot of critics and film fans have compared this film to David Fincher’s “Se7en,” which is probably one of my top 25 favorite films of all time. This film does not hold a candle to “Se7en.” Again, there were moments which really clicked and scenes that really stood out. However, for the most part, it is long, tedious and rather bland. As far as special features are concerned, we only get two of them, and they are rather quick and to the point. The first one focuses on Washington’s work in cop films for Warner Brothers. The second talks about the differences between the characters played by Denzel Washington and Rami Malek. I can’t recommend you go out and buy this film as I watched it on HBO Max and now on Blu-ray, and it did not improve with a second viewing. As a Redbox rental on a rainy night, it’s worth your time.
**Disclaimer** I received a Blu-Ray copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.