90s Throwback is a Little Entertaining
Chris Kavan - wrote on 02/20/21
When critics compare The Little Things to a 90s-era crime thriller (David Fincher's Se7en is thrown out most often), they are not wrong. The film feels like it would fit right into that era what with cops with opposing attitudes, a nutty suspect and a twisted story (and ending for that matter). But this is not the 90s anymore and The Little Things, while having a killer cast, feels more like a pale imitation and never quite grips you like you think it should.
Let's start with the good - The Little Things has nabbed a great cast. Denzel Washington plays the cop who plays by his own rules while also dealing with his past - this catches up to him when he visits his own precinct only to get roped into a murder investigation that is eerily similar to the case that nearly ruined his career and life. Playing the part of the straight-arrow is Rami Malek, who essentially took on the old role as top detective only to find the current case may twist him up as well. Rounding out the main cast is Jared Leto, not stranger to transformative roles, who plays the role of the suspect to creepy perfection. Watch the interrogation scene and tell me it doesn't make your skin crawl. Chris Bauer, Michael Hyatt, Terry Kinney and Natalie Morales round out the main supporting cast.
The powerhouse lead trio do play well off each other, but the story takes a bit too long to get going and then tries to get too dark for its own good. It doesn't shy away from violent imagery or questionable character - but it never feels like it goes far enough. I wanted it to be more visceral and while the ending packs a punch, it also leaves too much open in my book as I was looking for something more definitive. It's one of those stories where everyone is varying shades of gray and you don't know who is going too far (or not far enough) so it's hard to root for even the supposed good guys.
The Little Things belongs in another time and place and try as it might to capture that same feel, it just comes up short. It's not a bad film, but just feels like it's lacking that spark to make it truly stand out.