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the little things

★★★

director: john lee hancock (the blind side, saving mr. banks)

starring: denzel washington, rami malek, jared leto and natalie morales

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a serial killer who is terrorising the city.

It seems to have been a long time between drinks since we’ve seen an all star cast in a detective drama up on the big screen and you couldn’t get a more stellar cast than Washington, Malek and Leto. Even though Washington, Malek and Leto give stellar performances throughout The Little Things which make it worth the price of admission alone, the narrative can sometimes drift listlessly and become the kind of film that we’ve seen before.

 

Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington) is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt, L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Malek), impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

 

Narratively we’ve kinda seen this all before. And while that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing, there’s films out there that we enjoy despite their genre tropes, the pacing of that narrative at times feels a little slow further exposing this. The whole second act is devoted towards surveilling a particular suspect which feels like a wasted opportunity for either character development or the injection of further narrative threads. That being said the final act does subvert genre expectations while tying up some loose plot points but they at times feel a little rushed and not particularly earned. 

 

The real gold to be found in The Little Things are it’s three stars. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than willing to part with some cash to see not one but three actors at the very height of their powers. Washington is one of those actors that have real screen presence and power - you can’t take your eyes off the screen because you may miss a millisecond of his artistic genius. Malek is wide eyed and earnest with a streak of menace lurking beneath while Leto is just pure nuts, finding hilarity and horror in the most mundane of things. 

 

Even though Washington, Malek and Leto give stellar performances throughout The Little Things which make it worth the price of admission alone, the narrative can sometimes drift listlessly and become the kind of film that we’ve seen before.

★★★