Movie Review: Denzel Washington’s ‘The Little Things’ Found Guilty

Bill Gordon, Contributor

Photo via Warner Bros

As we search for normalcy to get us through winter and the remainder of this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming services have become a major part of many people’s lives.

Many studios are moving forward with “theatrical” releases at home as everyone adapts.
In an effort to contribute to that normalcy, Valley Sentinel will endeavor to include reviews of trending, classic or otherwise interesting pieces of art or media to inspire. Feel free to send along your contributions.

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Director John Lee Hancock’s “The Little Things” shows us the smallest of mistakes—even a wrong split-second reaction—can change a life forever. “The Little Things” is a psychological crime drama starring Denzell Washington as Joe “Deke Deacon, a Kern County Deputy Sheriff who left his all-consuming life as a high-profile Los Angeles homicide detective, only to be drawn back on a serial killer case that rekindles past trauma. The story takes place in 1990 and stars Rami Malek as Jim Baxter, a young, upstart detective who has replaced Deacon.

We quickly learn that as a highly successful LA detective, Deacon became overly involved and obsessed with solving grisly murder cases, so much so that he needed to walk away from it all. (Later, we discover the dark secret he carries that contributed to his departure from the LAPD).

As the movie title implies, a theme in this story is the little things matter, especially when gathering evidence and reviewing a crime scene in a murder investigation. It’s the little things that make the difference in solving a crime and Deacon is one of the best at identifying them. The little things can also get us into trouble, and we see this as well.

Jared Leto is convincing as Albert Sparma, a creepy person of interest in the series of murders Deacon and Baxter are investigating.

Denzel is not in peak physical condition for this film, he’s not the lean and mean cop we see in Training Day or the precision fighter from The Equalizer. But Denzel’s appearance fits his character, an emotionally scarred former detective running from a past and broken life he’d like to forget.

There are some actors that make most any movie worthwhile watching, such as Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and certainly Denzel Washington. While the Little Things may not be perfect, Denzel keeps us engaged. The film maintains good suspense, but toward the end, the plot line seems a bit forced and mechanical, and some may find the conclusion unsatisfying.
3/5 stars.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

“The Little Things” is available for viewing in theaters now. The movie is available for home streaming via HBO Max until Feb 28.