Movie Review: The Little Things

Movie Review: The Little Things


Genre: Thriller

Rating: R

Running Time: 128 mins.

Where Can You See It?: In Theatres and HBO Max (for 30 days)

Premise: A jaded deputy sheriff “with a secret” (Denzel Washington) partners with a hotshot LASD detective (Rami Malek) to hunt a serial killer in 1990. Jared Leto plays their main suspect. 

Behind-the-Scenes: Writer-director John Lee Hancock originally wrote the script back in early ’90s (hence the setting), before serial killer flicks like Se7en, Kiss the Girls, and Copycat gained popularity. Originally attracted the likes of Steven Spielberg and other big names, but languished in developmental hell for decades. Leto recently earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his supporting work here.

The Good: Denzel is always watchable even if the movie around him isn’t. He’s made a lot of stinkers in his career, but he’s never the reason they stink. The Oscar pedigree is definitely here in spades – with all three leading actors having won gold. I’m a big fan of David Fincher’s Se7en, so some of the serial killer story trappings here can’t help but evoke fond memories of moviegoing in the ’90s.

The Bad: This is no Se7en. Even though it may have been first scripted before that hugely influential flick, whatever rewrites occurred over the ensuing years clearly show that Hancock is indebted to that film and trying to replicate some of its same twisty, soul-searching climax. It also borrows heavily from Zodiac. But, let’s be clear – Hancock is no Fincher. Rami Malek is such an odd duck – he brings awkward energy to everything he does. Sometimes it works, but it really doesn’t here. He seems sorely out of place in every scene, with Denzel running circles around him. Hell, even Leto is better (I actually think Leto is pretty good here). At over two hours, it’s slowly paced with large stretches of the film dragging, and almost nothing of note happening.

Should You See It?: No. You might be lured in by the three stars, but this is a turgid thriller. The only upshot for those who can’t help but take a look is that watching it on HBO Max allows you to skip the cost of a ticket. It’s not worth the $10.

Star Rating: ** out of 5 stars

Better Than: Along Came a Spider, The Snowman

Worse Than: Seven, Zodiac

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