An impressive cast lead by three Academy Award-winning actors is unfortunately not enough to save Writer/Director John Lee Hancock’s crime thriller The Little Things from its confused direction and hackneyed use of metaphor – despite a suitably brooding atmosphere.
The premise is classic: Disgraced and exiled former L.A. detective John ‘Deke’ Deacon (Denzel Washington) returns to town and teams up with hotshot cop Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to investigate a string of murders that bear a striking similarity to the unsolved case that drove Deke away years ago.
As their odyssey of gruesome crime scenes and Deke’s overstated obsession with fine details – hence ‘the little things’ – leads the pair to discover that they have more in common than they thought, they encounter prime suspect and all-round weirdo Albert Sparma (a suitably-cast Jared Leto).
The Little Things is visually enthralling, and makes some admirable attempts to subvert tropes of the procedural crime thriller but, in doing so, doesn’t quite become the psychodrama about obsession and the trauma of police work it seems to be gesturing towards.
Reviewed by Patrick McKenzie