The Little Things feels like other serial killer films of a similar ilk — mainly Se7en and Zodiac — but as the title might suggest, it’s the slight differences that set this one apart.
It’s a film that took director John Lee Hancock 30 years to get made, and though sometimes it feels like it may be stuck in genre tropes, it more than makes up for it in the performances and an explosive final act.
When a driven cop with a dark history meets a hotshot young detective, the two realize the former’s serial killer case from the past may be connected to the current string of murders.
Writer-director Hancock is best known for inspirational dramas like The Rookie and The Blind Side, but he pushes himself into dark new territory here, and it mostly pays off.
Though it sometimes feels dated, it also has a trio of performances that are unforgettable. Denzel Washington, in his most understated role to date, carries his secrets and pain in his eyes. The actor, for the first time in his career, looks his age as his cop character Deke wears his unsolved case heavy on his shoulders.
Rami Malek sheds the flamboyant skin that got him an Oscar as Freddie Mercury and dives into his role as egotistical Detective Baxter. He’s had an incredible career full of distinct turns, but this is one of his best yet.
It’s the first time I’ve ever seen it happen, but as suspect Albert Sparma, Jared Leto bursts off the screen and acts circles around even Washington. His creepy, under-your-skin performance even beats his Oscar-winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club.
The enigmatic, scene-stealing turn makes the movie, and is must-see. This is Leto’s ticket back to the A-list following his difficulties with Suicide Squad.
The Little Things is a tense endeavour rife with questions of moral ambiguity, and it’s all the little intricacies that make it work.