‘The Little Things’ disappoints despite stellar cast

Benjamin Haylett, arts & leisure editor

There is a general rule of thumb in Hollywood that if a movie is released in January or February, there is a good chance that it isn’t going to be good or do well at the box office. These months are where studios send movies to die. No movie in recent memory displays this better than “The Little Things.”
“The Little Things” is a police thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. Washington plays a small town cop in Northern California who is haunted by his past as a detective in Los Angeles. When he is tasked with retrieving evidence from the LAPD headquarters, he begrudgingly joins a young detective played by Malek as they try to bring a serial killer to justice. Leto is their main suspect, but without any hard evidence, the duo must work together to solve the case before more people get hurt.
The elevator pitch for “The Little Things” sounds pretty reminiscent of every cop thriller that has come out in recent memory since “Se7en” reinvigorated the genre. There are elements here and there throughout the runtime of “The Little Things” that at points felt like straight homages to “Se7en,” something that didn’t sit well with me.
While “The Little Things” brings some new plot points to the table, they are ultimately undercut by its sheer mundanity. Many creative choices made in “The Little Things” were done to make the movie more realistic to an actual murder investigation, but it just bogs down the movie to the point that I even got a little bored at times.
If there is one saving grace to “The Little Things” it’s the performances. Washington and Malek have great chemistry, and it is clear that they felt right at home in their respective roles. Leto, meanwhile, proved yet again that he is better than anyone when it comes to playing complete weirdos. But even an Oscar-worthy performance wouldn’t have been enough to save the convoluted story and turtle-like pacing.
“The Little Things’’ was the first movie that I have seen using HBOMax’s dual release format, and I was blown away by just how seamless the experience was. Warner Bros. definitely should have started the program off with a stronger movie, but like I said earlier, that’s just the way it goes when you are watching new movies this early in the year. In my column this week, I spoke to my opinions on how dual releases will work in the short-term future, but my experience has been a net positive at the moment, so I’ll have to see how I feel in the coming months.
Overall, “The Little Things’’ wasn’t a bad movie by any means; it just didn’t have anything that made it stand out from the plethora of other detective thrillers that Hollywood has been spitting out for decades.
If you have a subscription to HBO and need some cops and robbers action in your life, I’d say watch it. If you don’t, I don’t see any reason to purposely seek it out. If you need something to scratch the police mystery itch, you would be better off watching “Se7en.”