More than a little disappointed by “The Little Things”


Photo Via Warner Brothers Entertainment

After the horrendous murders of multiple women in Los Angeles, Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) joins forces with Sargent Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to catch a deranged maniac and fight their personal demons along the way. “The Little Things” utilizes award-winning actors in an attempt to make a serial-killer thriller that doesn’t seem basic, but it didn’t quite hit the mark. The film was released Jan. 29 on HBOmax and in select theatres. 

I was immediately drawn to this movie due to my love for true crime and “Bohemian Rhapsody” actor, Rami Malek, but was let down by the mundane plot and classic thriller troupes. While using cliche situations like a seasoned cop and a newbie teaming up, it is imperative the actual crime being presented is unique. Along with the cliches, the crime was a basic case of a serial killer who preys on women. It is not surprising that big cities hold a large rate of homicides, so having a murder that stands out against the hundreds of others is crucial in a film. 

The man accused of the murders, Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) is unpredictable: somehow simultaneously reckless and calculating. Armed with a beer belly, greasy locks and empty wide eyes, any viewer would be wary of Leto’s character. Malek and Washington’s characters seem too sure that Sparma is guilty, without much evidence and a lack of strong leads. Sparma was the only true source of suspense, leaving viewers unsure of his innocence due to his strong alibis. Everything else seemed too predictable, mimicking hundreds of other cop movies. 

Due to the drab script, there is a lack of strong characterization, which seems like a crime when such great actors are on screen. Malek plays a hotshot within the department, and his cocky bravado was prominent at the beginning of the film, but seemed to dwindle as the movie progressed. Clearly, Malek can play likable but arrogant characters, such as Freddie Mercury, but the script didn’t allow much room for character development. It makes sense that the toll of working a murder would start to weigh on Baxter’s conscience and confidence, but his trauma seemed rushed. 

Washington’s acting was also good, despite the lack of growth his character has. As one of the central characters, it is expected that Deacon would stand out against the rest of the cast, but sadly this wasn’t the case. He was a boring character and using his trauma as his only personality trait did not work. Deacon talks and converses with the corpses of the murder victims as a coping mechanism, which was the only thing that truly intrigued me about him. 

After noticing that Baxter is similarly obsessed with the case, Deacon becomes protective of the younger man and doesn’t want him to lose his family and reputation just as Deacon did years prior. I was hoping that Baxter and Deacon’s partnership would evolve as both characters descended into the madness of the case, but it felt unnatural. They went from strangers to Deacon covering up a murder to protect Baxter’s reputation, which is pretty unrealistic. Despite the long duration of the movie, there was no time to develop the complicated relationship these men had. 

The ending was supposed to be a plot twist, but it was once again too predictable. It is up to the audience to decide if Leto’s character was the murderer and to decide if Malek’s trama will catch up to him as it did Deacon. I am a fan of open endings, but my family disliked it immensely. The cast and premise raised my expectations but “The Little Things” just wasn’t enough to captivate me completely.