The Little Things Movie Review

Emmanuel Son, Staff Writer

The Little Things, directed by John Lee Hancock and streaming on HBO Max until Feb 28th, follows former homicide detective and long time Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) when he partners up with new and young homicide detective Sergeant Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) as they work together in search of a serial killer who has been haunting the city of Los Angeles. During the ongoing investigation and manhunt, memories of Deke’s past frequently came up. With the partners’ stark differences, how and will the murders be solved?

The movie itself follows a twisting story, one that viewers can get lost within. There is not too much action in the movie itself. Instead, the viewer has to really study each character, their past, personality, and the goals they’ve had in their lives. The film features a number of flashbacks, where given the plot of the movie, one would think the film is too predictable. But as you continue watching the film, you realize there is more to the story. The film was created in such a way to allow the audience to feel as though they are a detective trying to solve the homicide. It is important that you keep up with murder cases in this movie and the crime that is involved throughout this film.

I began this movie concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much given some of the reviews I had seen beforehand. However, there was enough suspense and curiosity for me to keep watching. This might have had to do with Denzel Washington’s acting. His ability to portray a long-term law enforcement member and the complex emotions that arise from the occupation adds meaning and value to the film. His work with Sargent Baxter also demonstrates an example for the real world where people must work well together on the job despite large differences. The movie also highlights a difference in how murder investigations are done today. It is set in the 1990s, which means the DNA testing used by the detectives was not as advanced as it is today. 

This film also highlights many problems. One aspect that is highly focused on is the mental impact of the many experiences in our lives. This is demonstrated when Sheriff Deke decided he should retire because he became too emotionally attached to the cases he must solve. Deke’s emotions, combined with his job, had caused him to divorce his wife and even suffer from a heart attack. Another takeaway from the movie involves the mental illness of the main suspect. The main suspect’s behavior throughout interrogation and their daily routines show what can happen to oneself when one is lost in life. The suspect’s behavior is something that will eventually lead to many deep questions throughout the movie. 

While the film may not have been a favorite of mine, I definitely would watch it again and recommend that most people give viewing a shot. Reviews came in mixed overall. 68 percent of users on Google liked the film. Viewers on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a total score of 47 percent. One aspect that the film could have done better were the action scenes. While its genre is labeled as a thriller/crime, many viewers would most likely expect more action scenes given the synopsis of the movie. For some viewers, having more action scenes in a movie about a serial killer would excite them.

While it may not have ended the way I would’ve preferred for it to, I am glad that it’s ending was not on the cliche or unoriginal side. In a way, given the plot of the movie, it was a good idea to end the movie the way they did so fans keep talking about it. The ending also allows for Deke to talk about an important life lesson using a phrase that gets said quite a few times throughout the film. 

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