Denzel Washington and Rami Malek star in “The Little Things”, a film written and directed by John Lee Hancock. Most known for directing “The Blind Side,” Hancock is said to have written this film nearly 30 years ago, with multiple directors being considered throughout the pre-production process.
Washington plays Joe Deacon, a seemingly washed-up Sheriff from Kern County who gets brought back to his old station in LA because of a homicide that traces back to an old case. He runs into Jim Baxter, played by Malek — a young hotshot detective who looks to have a fire lit under him in terms of his commitment to the job. The parallels of these two characters are evident throughout with the determination and force they will use to track down their suspect.
If it were not for an older looking Denzel Washington in this film, one would think this was made back in the year it was set, 1990. The setting is brilliant with a subtle homage to David Fincher’s “Seven,” giving it the feeling of a 90s crime thriller. We do not see movies like this anymore, let alone its refreshingly unconventional story beats that play throughout the film.
The uneasy tone the film starts out with is matched with the sudden shift into the lead character’s altruistic approach to their duty as police officers creating a nail-biting experience for the viewer. When it comes to the direction of the film, Hancock delivers foreboding shots that may linger in our minds for days after. The misdirection leading into what may have been predicted to begin with leaves us asking ourselves what each sentiment means.
Jared Leto’s performance as Albert Sparma is creepy and captivating, warranting him a Golden Globe nomination that could lead to a potential Oscar nomination. You never know which direction his character seems to be going, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
This film will leave you thinking about it days after your watch. It is indeed “the little things” about this movie that intrigues and keeps you guessing until the end. With HBO Max’s new selection of films this year with Warner Bros, it is a good start to 2021 and an award contender for the upcoming award season.