Staff Writer: David McCallister
As part of HBO Max’s new release schedule for movies, the first new film of the year is The Little Things starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto. While the star-studded cast carries a few strong performances, the film is an overall disappointment from start to finish.
The plot of the film stars Denzel Washington, a former detective who reopens an old case about a set of murders around Los Angeles in the 1990’s. With the help of Rami Malek, the duo tries to close the case once and for all, but with this comes old demons and new ones that jeopardize the whole investigation.
The positives of the film come from the cinematography and the cast. Director of Photography John Schwartzman creates a gritty look at Los Angeles in the 90’s which helps develop the film’s tone. It’s done well and with recurring shots throughout the film prove to make a beautiful yet disgruntled look at crime.
The two best actors in the film Denzel Washington and Jared Leto give different, yet effective performances as a veteran officer and main suspect in the investigation. The scenes with Jared Leto are scene-stealing, in more of a campy way than serial sense. Jared Leto’s Golden Globe nominated performance is abstract but works as he handles the script well.
Following the script, this is where The Little Things falls flat. An outdated script written thirty years ago needs works to adapt to modern film, but it feels like this script was untouched. Cliches and thriller tropes are rampant during the 128-minute run time, and it causes the film with an interesting prologue to lose steam in the first act.
While most actors with prestige and acclaim can work around a weak script, Rami Malek was sadly miscast as the new young Police Chief. His demeanor and accent make him unbearable to listen to and watch, like a robot who encounters human interaction for the first time.
The issue with The Little Things is how it barely tries to make the audience care about the situation and characters. Through poor explanation and exposition, the emotion that should come with wanting the main protagonist to complete his goal is nonexistent.
While not getting into spoilers, The Little Things fails with creating a comprehensible and satisfying conclusion. The film throws fifteen punches, and only feels like one is impactful. It’s a weak attempt to divert the audience in the end, and overall makes the film weaker overall.The Little Things is an outdated movie with too many misdirections. While most of the main cast can carry the film on their own acting skills, it can’t save how weak the execution is. Better films like Se7en and Zodiac exist to satisfy Crime Thriller lovers. The Little Things tries little to distinguish itself in a pool of better films.