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Monday, December 11, 2023

The Little Things Review: A Chilling, Calculated & Nostalgic Crime Thriller

Warner Bros has been releasing some interesting content throughout the pandemic and now they have released John Lee Hancock’s The Little Things. 

It’s been a while since we’ve watched an engaging psychological crime thriller and going by trailer, it promises to be quite a nail-biting watch.

Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) joins forces with Sgt. Jim “Jimmy” Baxter (Rami Malek) to search for a serial killer who has been terrorising Los Angeles.

As they track the culprit, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

The technical aspects contribute majorly in narrating the story in a visually aesthetic manner.

Whether it’s the wide-shots of highways or potholes in a deserted barren, such scenes signify the enigma of the storyline.

Throughout, so many different sub-plots and scenes are thrown at the viewers to keep the suspense and intrigue going.

Even though it is about the hunt for a serial killer, the overlapping of cars seem to be quite the allegory, highlighting the movie’s concept.

A special mention goes to the captivating yet soul-stirring background score.

Even at pivotal points, the music does not become heavy to emphasise the drama and suspense. It is calm yet foreboding.

Despite the film being set in the 21st century, the film’s 90s backdrop. Whether it’s the arcades or telephones, Hancock does a splendid job in re-creating the setting.

It is quite nostalgic and oddly refreshing to watch a thriller which is distant from technological developments or surroundings which are familiar to us.

In fact, the film pays a homage to earlier works like Zodiac and Seven, BUT, the movie is not at all a typical psychological crime thriller. 

The narrative delves deeper, adapting a neo-noir style visual, which dives into the sub-conscious of all characters.

I’m quite impressed with the angle John Lee Hancock has taken. We’ve seen so many cat-and-mouse chases between the detective and killer. 

To observe a more psychological and yet unsettling narrative is quite a pleasant surprise. 

Usually, in such styles of movies, there is a clear distinction between the protagonist and antagonist.

However, here, the three main characters are grey and performed excellently by each cast member.

Denzel Washington is no stranger to playing the gatekeeper of the law. But his performance as a cop with fighting inner-darkness is arguably the most iconic.

We usually observe Washington save the day, fighting the evils of the world, but to see him as a vulnerable yet questionable role is quite a unique visual. Definitely, a job well done.

Rami Malek is extremely confident as a dedicated detective. Malek delivers his role with utmost conviction and acts as a reminder of what a phenomenal talent he is.

Jared Leto plays Albert Sparma, a strange man who is suspected to be the killer. Firstly, kudos to the prosthetics and look… He looks creepy as hell, though playing such eerie characters is a familiar territory for him.

Secondly, even though Leto has played dark characters before, he plays this role in such a chilling way which unnerves the viewer. 

The overall duration of The Little Things is two hours but the movie itself takes time to get going. Even the pace is quite unhurried and requires a substantial amount of patience.

If one seeks it to be a shocking and sickening tale of a twisted serial killer, then The Little Things is not that.

Nonetheless, the movie carries a strong nostalgia as well as allegorical facets, which in a way reignites the psychological thriller genre.

When the credits roll, it leaves you wondering what happens next with the case and I love movies which leave us questioning the conscious of characters! 

⭐⭐⭐.5 (3.5/5 stars)

You can rent the movie premiere of The Little Things at home now. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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