Review: ‘The Little Things’ is a movie that’s too reminiscent of the past

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Denzel Washington and Rami Malek manage to deliver powerhouse performances.

The serial killer drama comes straight out of the 1990s

When HBO announced that all Warner Bros. films would be landing on their new streaming platform HBO Max, all eyes turned to the big-budget releases. Anticipation for blockbusters including “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Dune,” “Matrix 4” and “The Suicide Squad” immediately shot through the roof as they could be seen by viewers from the comfort of their own home.

What many people didn’t pay attention to were the smaller releases that would also land on the service. One of those happens to be the latest serial killer thriller known as “The Little Things.” The film stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, all of which have secured Academy Awards for their previous efforts.

“The Little Things” centers on “Deke” (Washington) as a small-town sheriff who’s sent to Los Angeles, where he meets young detective Baxter (Malek). The two work together to track down a mysterious serial killer, leading them to the suspicious and spine-tingling Albert Sparma (Leto), who appears to have no connection to any of the crimes.

The film had all the required components for a successful film, ranging from a solid story, to arguably overqualified acting, to a safe release format to a large audience. Yet there’s one aspect that held this film back from becoming the powerhouse crime thriller that it should have been.

Writer/Director John Lee Hancock has gone on record throughout multiple promotional interviews, stating that he’s been trying to create this film for just over three decades. While it took over 30 years for the film to come to fruition, it’s clear that the script wasn’t updated since 1990.

The pacing and overall feel of the film feel eerily similar to that of “Se7en,” which was released in 1995. In that sense, “The Little Things” was ahead of its time. Yet the film feels as if it’s something of the past having been released 25 years after the critically acclaimed thriller.

The saving grace of this film comes from the knockout performances put forth by Washington, Malek and Leto. Each actor plays their designated role in such a way that captures the viewer’s attention and demands their patience throughout the rest of the film.

While most of the audience will have a solid guess as to what’s around each corner in the film’s story, the actors offer up an enjoyable ride for the time being. As the streaming service is bound to have a few films in their arsenal that won’t receive the acclaim they were hoping for, there are still many more to look forward to through the end of the year.

Review: 3.5/5

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