January 28, 2021

GENRE | Denzel Washington Solves 'The Little Things'

"It's the little things that get you caught."
Rami Malek Jared Leto John Lee Hancock | The Little Things
Warner Bros. Pictures
Studio filmmaker John Lee Hancock's serial killer drama was originally written in the 1990s when it takes place and it sure feels like it. Starring a brooding Denzel Washington as the predictably grizzled cop who devolves into obsession, The Little Things is littered with the usual tropes and clich├ęs while almost revelling in them.

Co-starring Rami Malek as the young dick of a hotshot detective counterpart and Jared Leto (he shows up a little late to the proceedings) as the creepy lead suspect, it appears Hancock's script and film evolved very little from its original genesis. However, the rich vein of police crime procedurals in the cop genre sure has. Malek and Washington have a fun sense of opposing chemistry to contrast their styles with the former dialling up his dickishness to the max. He seems to delight in yelling at his non-police co-workers by pushing the boundaries of detective work.

There's a comfort to how Hancock so earnestly unfolds the pulpy layers of his cop thriller like a throwaway pageturner. Everyone does their best, but nothing about the material feels particularly fresh. Comedian Natalie Morales adds some casual levity to the heavy dose of testosterone in the trio of award-winning male lead actors. Still, everything feels so artificially dark with the usual gruesome crime scenes that torture, haunt, and follow our detectives home to their broken personal lives.

Despite being written before it, The Little Things certainly feels highly derivative of Seven and other similar murder dramas of the like. Its conception and concept feel almost frozen in time with its unironic ease of predictability. Nonetheless, there's a comforting familiarity to it thanks its A-list cast and competent direction.

The Little Things is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand in Canada.


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