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Hall reviews "The Little Things"
Justin Hall

The Little Things is a crime drama that is moody, atmospheric, and occasionally grisly. On that level, it's serviceable enough even if the execution of the material is unoriginal.

Denzel Washington stars as Joe "Deke" Deacon, an L.A. deputy sheriff in 1990 who takes on the case of a recent murder and his new partner on the case is a detective named Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek). Baxter has a cocky attitude towards Deacon, but as they investigate, Baxter learns there's more below the surface both in terms of the case and his veteran partner.

Jared Leto costars as Albert Sparma, an unbalanced man who might have ties to the murder and yet he insists that he didn't do it and knows nothing about it. This just makes the two cops more desperate and probe even further.

The Little Things was written and directed by John Lee Hancock and he concocts a film that is a severe departure from some of his previous efforts such as The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks.

The look of the film creates a sense of quiet tension despite its atmospheric gloom, but there's a part of me that wanted it to go right to the wall with a sense of manic instead of being restrained.

I wanted to see the characters evoke the same amount of intensity as the atmosphere and yet they're part of that restraint. That part of the film almost makes it a missed opportunity.

Despite my objections, I still recommend it due Washington and Malek's commitment and earnestness they bring to their roles and the movie does have decent pacing in a lot of scenes.

This will no doubt remind audiences of a second-rate version of Seven particularly with the gory aftermath of the murders. It works better if you can avoid the comparisons.

The Little Things adds up to the something, but it should add up to more.

Grade: B

(Rated R for violent/disturbing images, language and full nudity.)

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