Se7en-ish Thriller ‘The Little Things’ Fails to Deliver on its Big Ambitions

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer

Plot: Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a serial killer who is terrorising the city.

Review: Fifteen minutes into The Little Things and I’m thinking to myself, “This looks and feels like Se7en”. Naturally my interest is piqued. Once Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club/Suicide Squad) is introduced I also started getting hints of HBO’s True Detective, and my excitement jumped even further. But like Icarus, The Little Things shoots for the sun and ends up crashing and burning as the final act unfolds. It’s a mix bag is what I’m saying, so let’s get into it.

When the guy you cut off in traffic pulls up to you at the light…

Written and directed by John Lee Hancock of The Blind Side fame, The Little Things is one of those movies where everything seemed to be going well (for the most part) right up until the final act.

With an A-list class of actors leading the way, like Denzel Washington, Rami Malek (Mr Robot, Bohemian Rhapsody) and the aforementioned Jared Leto, this crime drama/thriller invokes similar movies from the 90s and 2000s where a couple of brilliant but troubled detectives are on the trail of an elusive, smart and deadly serial killer. All the right ingredients are here, and for the most part The Little Things does a good job of keeping you invested in the outcome of this macabre tale. But when one of the cops makes a decision that ultimately shifts the focus of everything that was presented before it completely changes not just the tone of the movie, but the entire story thread as well.

Anybody ever tell you that you look like Freddie Mercury?

I think I understand what Hancock was trying to do here. Instead of delivering your standard serial killer thriller (try saying that 10 times fast) he instead goes the dramatic route, delivering more of a cautionary tale or a lesson in the dangers of police who sacrifice justice in the name of “getting it done”. How many news headlines have you seen or documentaries have you watched that exposed how cops who allowed their emotions to affect their judgment ultimately lost sight of the victims and, in some cases, target the wrong suspect, with blinders on to the bigger picture. Hancock chooses to go this route, and while I give him credit for trying to do something different, the message and its delivery come too late and end up jarring the viewer in a way that makes the story feel incomplete.

The editing is also really strange here. There was one scene where Rami Malek is having Denzel’s car towed because he’s blocking him in and he’s “in a hurry”, yet the very next scene he’s at a press conference….in the same building as Denzel. And that’s just one example.

DENZEL: You think you’re funny, huh? RAMI: Yeah, we got a real joker here

I have a feeling The Little Things will be one of those movies that a few years down the line reviewers and critics will call “brilliant” or “subversive” or some other set of fancy words. It is the type of film that makes you want to sit and dissect it with likeminded folks (I have a theory as to who the killer is, but I’m keeping that hush-hush for now). But as it is today, The Little Things feels like an overly ambitious movie that could’ve been a solid thriller if it stuck to the core elements it laid out, but is ultimately let down by an anticlimactic ending that leaves the viewer feeling let down.

Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10

You can check out my video review of The Little Things below:

For a community review of Se7en you can click here. And for our archive of thriller reviews you can click here.

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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