The Little Things

  • 10 Apr - 16 Apr, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

In what feels like an adaptation of a potboiler but is actually an original story, deputy sheriff “Deke” (Denzel Washington) finds himself unavoidably dragged back into the thrust of a case he’s not supposed to be involved in. Once a celebrated member of the force, with age he’s found himself pushed to the back, lumped with grunt work over anything more rewarding. But when another young woman is murdered, he’s unable to resist, much to the chagrin of Jimmy (Rami Malek), the point guy on the case. The story also interweaves with an unsolved case from Deke’s past as well as a local stranger (Jared Leto) who may or may not be involved.

Maybe if Hancock’s film had been produced back in the early 90s, it would have at least felt like a more admirably serious-minded riposte to a sub-genre that often devolves into silliness. But at a time when even small-screen procedurals have perma-frowned detectives who spend more time haunted by their past than actually solving crimes in the present, it all feels a little too familiar and a little too minor. As a slow, meditative character-driven drama, it’s too shallow and as a dark, disturbing serial killer thriller, it’s too boring and so quite who this film is for remains a bigger mystery than the one at its centre.

As probably the most reliable leading man currently working in Hollywood, Washington can put a shine on even the dullest of material. Playing a dogged LAPD detective with the same otherworldly strangeness that won him plaudits for Mr Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek is awkwardly ill-suited for the role, a performance so discordant, it makes one question the actor’s long-term versatility and just how Hollywood will best make use of him. While Leto certainly looks the part of “potential killer of women” with his pale sunken skin and greasy long hair, his line delivery is so embarrassingly unsubtle that he might as well have walked off the set of a Hammer horror parody, never convincing us that he’s playing anything other than an Evil Movie Villain. That juicy killer-cop interplay, the spiky cat and mouse game that drives films such as this, just isn’t really there, Hancock struggling to differentiate his film from the many others that have come before, as admirably hard as Washington tries.

– Compilation