At its core, The Little Things is a journey of two cops waging war on a serial killer. They connect with a little bit of mystery between them, and begin a hunt that provides direct confrontation. While it may seem so simple, there are however some extra dynamics behind what the actual focus of this is and that gets revealed throughout the course of the film.
With that, I think there was some really quality material in this one. At the same time, it’s hard to get to that point. It’s a very slow first hour, in what’s a rather overly long and mostly disconnected movie. I say disconnected in the sense that many elements of this story either get left out and forgotten, or just don’t lead to something very satisfying. It may seem like an epic sort of detective experience, but that’s really not what this is about.
Again, you get to see that revealed but just be wary that it does have an overly ambiguous tone to it and I was left unsatisfied by its conclusion. I think the latter half of this is fairly good, it’s an interesting direction and I was immediately more intrigued and captured by what this had to offer. The first hour is just really boring, and very poorly paced.
There were also numerous continuity issues I saw while watching, or some cuts that made some scenes not entirely make sense. This was weird, as it’s not typically something I spot so easily. At the start with a dog, or at a point where a window gets knocked on for some examples. Very strange, and yes I’m being vague as I try to keep things as spoiler free as possible.
The strongest part of this experience was the dynamic between the two cops. You’ve got Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington), a grizzled now small town cop having issues from something that happened in the past. He’s got a clear connection to what’s happening now, and gets mixed up with Jim Baxter (Rami Malek). Baxter is a younger cop that’s making his way up quickly and tackling this case with an almost personal focus.
The two have a sort of, history repeats connection you could say. I did find Malek’s performance to be a bit odd at times, but for the most part solid. Denzel was fantastic in this slower, tired sort of cop role. He really did nail it, and the bond between these two was really exciting when it was working. I try to keep spoilers to a minimum, and with that they’re up against a very clear target.
This person is shown fairly early, and that sort of took out the surprise of them being revealed later on. At the same time, the mystery here isn’t who they are, but more of what they’ve been doing and how the cops can take this person on that’s very precise and basically playing around with them. I did find this serial killer to be a tad too over the top at times, that sort of took me out of it.
At the same time, when using a calm too relaxed attitude, that was fun to see in action. I did also want to mention that it was a bit disappointing to have Natalie Morales as Ana, Baxter’s partner for her to have no real point to the film at all. This was fairly well shot, it’s quite fine to take in but I think the editing really let this one down at points. It did have an excellent use of sound however, the beats really carried the theme and atmosphere throughout this film.
The Little Things has some interesting concepts backing it, but ultimately fails to keep interest with poor pacing and a rather bland direction. I did find the idea they were reaching towards rather fascinating, since it is very clearly shown title wise on this one. It’s just that I thought they’d have something more compelling with the lead up.
It definitely didn’t go where I expected it to, at the same time it was just disappointing. I was getting very bored of the first hour, but I was definitely more into it in that latter half. I think better pacing, and editing in general would have made this smoother.
There are just so many parts that don’t add up, religious themes being another one on top of the continuity I mentioned prior. It just seemed to be all over the place, lacking focus on key moments. There were some fun parts to it, good twists. It just isn’t that compelling of a time, and some of it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. With that not being set in the good type of ambiguous.
The Little Things Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening Provided by Warner Brothers