On paper, The Little Things boasts some pretty big elements.
First up the cast.
Denzel Washington, who always brings an essence of suave and cool to his roles without showing any effort at all. Here is provided the perfect canvas to etch out his craft playing deputy sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon lured back into the sin city of Los Angeles with a potential serial killer on the loose that could potentially spark the same kind of fear that was drawn by The Night Stalker.
Accompanying him is hot shot detective Jimmy Baxter (equally hotter than hot right now, Rami Malek) who strives to put an end to the suffering inflicted by this seditious killer at all costs.
And Jared Leto as the chief suspect in the two detectives investigations, Albert Sparma, an eccentric recluse, who is just a little too out of sync with the world that he instantly draws your attention. Leto’s performance is once again a stand out, proving that he can easily shift into the quirky state of mind and pull you in. So much so that he rightfully earned his Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Supporting Actor.
Secondly, The style and setting.
LA will always project a certain amount of style onto the screen, with its vast spreading landscape and the golden charade promised at the lands west, but is and always will be shrouded by its corruptibility and dark past.
The city and its landscape slips easily into the neo-noir crime world painted by director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Highwaymen). In many ways it is the perfect place to mould the dark etchings of life and shed light on the most darkened souls.
In doing so, Hancock is constantly posing the question of what drives a person to reach their end? Are we all blinded by our own pursuits to reach our goal that we fail to see the bigger picture? And even when we believe that we have attained our needs and salvated our lust for success and exposed our inner hedonistic tendencies and the narcissist that we believe lies dormant at our core, we simply get blinded once more. The circle continues as we spiral into the murky terrain.
All of these elements are to be applauded including some stunning shots by cinematographer John Schwartzman, but there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right that lurks beneath the surface of this incredibly lush and stylised story.
Yes we are lured in by the intelligence of Washington’s inquisitive mind combined with the fiery, passionate temperament of Malik, but ultimately the dots don’t join together and the plot doesn’t hold enough substance to grip you into its fold.
Instead we’re cast around carelessly from one lead to another and expected to forgive these missteps towards an admittedly bold and decisive ending. But by the time we’re presented with that compelling turn off the narrative highway, we’re too lost in the searing heat of confusion, trying to make sense of it all.
- Saul Muerte