Serial killer crime thrillers. These films are a dime a dozen. So what does John Lee Hancock’s new offering, THE LITTLE THINGS, contribute to the genre? Read on to find out…
The synopsis may sound familiar: A serial killer preys on beautiful young women. An obsessive, washed up detective with a mysterious personal investment in the case takes it upon himself to do all he can to help the young hot-shot detective solve the crime. It may sound a little stale/dated…and that’s because it arguably is. Written in 1993 (and set in the 90s) it feels a little nostalgic; like a film that could have been comfortably released in that time period. Some audience members may like that “warm and fuzzy” familiar feel, while others may yawn at its familiarity. Regardless, it’s not the storyline that powers this flick, it’s the impressive cast.
Boasting three Oscar winners in the lead roles – Denzel Washington, Jared Leto and Rami Malek – it’s no surprise that the acting in THE LITTLE THINGS is superb. All three gents execute their roles perfectly and have great on-screen chemistry. The flick also has the feeling of care and genuine investment that comes with a movie written and directed by the same person: Hancock clearly loves this project and the result is a well shot, well directed and visually considered film.
The most interesting aspect about THE LITTLE THINGS is also what some may argue to be the most “boring” or unsatisfying; the plot doesn’t delve in to the reasoning or psyche of the killer behind these bizarre murders. Instead it focusses on the mentality of the detectives. Again this may divide audiences; some may enjoy this approach, others may find themselves disappointed.
Much like a “choose your own adventure” book, THE LITTLE THINGS may split audience reaction. However, unlike a choose your own adventure book, unfortunately film doesn’t offer the luxury of selecting which way you want the narrative to go. You’re stuck with Hancock’s choice of focus. It’s undeniably a well made and brilliantly acted film, but its detective focus may lead some to feel that this slow burn flick doesn’t quite offer the pay off they were hoping for.
I rate it 6.5 out of 10.