The Little Things is not a good film, despite the efforts to generate a police procedural themed thriller, which in the mid-90s once filled the big screen, and is now an alternative presentation on television through True Detective to Mindhunter. Plus at birth the comparison with Se7en (1995), which incidentally is one of the best titles of the subgenre. Whether this is one of David Fincher’s many copycats is debatable, given that the first draft was made by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder) in 1993. Names such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, to Warren Beatty was briefly linked, before finally being filled by Hancock himself.
On the internet, I found many discussions regarding the ending of this film. It was enlivened by those who claimed to be “Se7en fans”, and almost all of them raised the question, “Who is the real killer?”. Whereas Se7en’s basic substance is not about “who”. Maybe the scarcity of products makes the audience forget the essence of this type of film. Unfortunately, The Little Things is not capable enough to be able to restore that memory, let alone revive the popularity of its subgenre. Top Movie Site
Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington), deputy sheriff from Kern County, is assigned to visit the Los Angeles police headquarters, to collect evidence of a murder case. Deacon used to be a detective there, before being transferred due to obsession with a case. Detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) welcomes him, who invites Deacon to the scene of a murder. It didn’t take Deacon long to realize that the perpetrator’s modus operandi bears a resemblance to the case he had failed to solve.
What made The Little Things appear inferior to Se7en? There is no need to discuss the subtext first, because the most pronounced one is about intensity. Once again, Se7en is not about “who”, and John Doe’s (Kevin Spacey) unique modus operandi makes the viewer not to prioritize the identity of the perpetrator but to “why”. Investigations run interesting thanks to their rich twists and turns, and the possibilities for answers are endless.
Here, Deacon and Baxter’s investigation is tedious, because even though the goal is not to guess the identity, Hancock’s script fails to attract the interest of the audience to find out more than that, in the middle of a series of procedures that who knows how many thousand times it appears in the film. The first body was found. It is believed that a few days after carrying out the action, the perpetrator returned, only to change the position of the victim. The next fact followed: all the victims were prostitutes. Why? It is suspected that the motive is the satisfaction of sexual desire. Point. No more mystery.
The new appeal increases once Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) appears. Deacon and Baxter believe it is the killer. Sparma’s figure seemed to shout “I’m the weird pervert killer!”. Again Leto appears eccentric. His eyes were blank, his way of walking was strange. An temper that will once again bring up the pros and cons, but for me, this time Leto’s oddity was effective. Sparma had to look creepy, and she did it (the Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominations catapulted her Oscar chances). Best Movie
Leto’s eccentricity blends perfectly with Denzel Washington, who has always led me to believe that he really feels what his character is feeling, in an appearance that defines the complexity of realism. In reality, when someone is angry, they don’t just scream. Likewise Denzel. He occasionally smiled, laughed, emphasized the irony of bitterness. Not many performers like him, who are able to conjure up “chatter” with a corpse (which on paper are like a silly dramatization), into painful contemplation, about tragedy as a teenager, who should have had the opportunity to enjoy golden times, even losing their lives too quickly.
Regarding acting, I think I have a different opinion from most viewers. Malek is the oddest. At the start of his appearance, Baxter was quite eccentric, like a cold-blooded figure who wouldn’t be surprising if he was finally revealed to be the real killer (calm down, this is not a spoiler). It was only when he entered the middle of the duration that he became more human. Not necessarily Malek’s fault. This could be Hancock’s intention to strengthen his message. It seems awkward due to the script that is weak in exploring the character’s psychic processes, so the changes are felt suddenly.
What message was Hancock trying to convey? Again, this is not much different from Se7en, which is a nihilist, where the world is so dark because of “God is a long past giving shit”. Like Morgan Freeman, Denzel made pessimistic sentences, regarding how police investigations are just a formality, instead of struggling to improve things. On the other hand, like Brad Pitt, Malek plays a figure who believes in his chances of deterring evil. The method used by the two films is also similar, when in the middle, the duet is turned into a trio. It was then that the prey took control of the hunter, dragging him into the endless abyss. Movie Review
Accompanied by the intense music by Thomas Newman, the third act is tense, full of anticipation and hope that the light will emerge. But apparently that hope is false. That’s why don’t expect clarity about the identity of the killer. In the world of nihilists, there is not one thing that is certain, apart from endless darkness.