The Little Things, Big Problems
The Little Things; in a car moving at good speed, at night, a young woman sings cheerfully over the radio. She doesn’t know yet, but a serial killer has chased her. In front of this scene which opens the detective drama The Little Things, we immediately think of a similar sequence in The Silence of the Lambs. Quickly, however, John Lee Hancock’s film distanced itself from that of Jonathan Demme.
Faced with the shaky result, perhaps a substitute that can be assumed as such, would have been preferable. Be that as it may, many modern jewels of the genre – including Se7en and Zodiac, by David Fincher – will be remembered occasionally, and never to the advantage of The Little Things (A matter of details), which strives to vain to rise in the same leagues.
John Lee Hancock’s crime drama called The Little Things. With Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto. United States, 2021, 127 minutes. Available in VOD on most platforms.
It is that John Lee Hancock, a competent all-rounder (The Alamo, The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder) who also wrote the screenplay, does not possess an ounce of the virtuosity of those whom here he tries to take for models. Set in the early 1990s, The Little Things focuses on two apparently opposing policemen: Joe “Deke” Deacon, a Kern County deputy sheriff with a troubled past, and Jimmy Baxter, an ambitious young police detective. from Los Angeles.
By a combination of circumstances, and after engaging in a quickly dispatched alpha male contest (like so many other elements of the narrative), Deke and Jimmy will team up to trap a serial killer they believe to be a certain Albert. Sparma.
Unsurprisingly, Denzel Washington is excellent: he hints at Deke’s inner torments without pressing. Rami Malek, on the other hand, is not convincing as a young wolf. In his defense, however, his character is very poorly written. At first with infinite arrogance, Jimmy suddenly ceases to be completely. Very rigorous and respectful of the rules, he too quickly starts to accept breaking them. Towards the end, the implausibilities pile up (several huge), and it is often through this character. Normal that his interpreter struggles to find his bearings.
Unsurprisingly, in The Little Things, Denzel Washington is excellent: he hints at Deke’s inner torments without pressing. Rami Malek, on the other hand, is not convincing as a young wolf. In his defense, however, his character is very poorly written.
As for Sparma, he is played by Jared Leto. With the padding under his tank top and his gaze locked at “maximum intensity”, he seems to be playing a pot-bellied guru. The game is big, but the actor manages to generate an undeniable thrill or two.
Lengths and hesitations
Regarding the choice of historical context, the examination of the first crime scene heralds an interest in forensics, which was then undergoing major scientific advances. However, we ultimately do nothing with this track. The film is also weighted with lengths, stretching in passages of which one can hardly understand the importance between two scenes of suspense devoid of tension.
Sometimes a contrasting study of two generations of police officers, sometimes a classic investigation with the discovery of clues and interrogations, The Little Things turns out to be commonplace in both aspects. Banal, basically, is the best term to qualify the staging.
Who came to the comments hoping to find out who the Serial Killer is?
It’s never more apparent than when John Lee Hancock tries to transcend the concept of “honest, ready-to-eat studio thriller” with quirky asides. We think of these occasional appearances of the victims in the form of ghostly corpses, which Deke is the only one to see. The old cop then talks to these dead women who haunt his conscience.
In the hands of talented filmmakers, such passages where the real becomes briefly surreal in a non-horrific context can infuse a film with hints of dark poetry (see, for example, Origin of a cry, by Robin Aubert). In The Little Things, it’s just crazy. At least the film makes you want to revisit a host of other, superior ones.
THE LITTLE THINGS – Official Trailer
Photo credit: Nicola Goode Warner Bros. / Yahoo