The Little Things

The Little Things ★★★

"When I look in your eyes, what I see, it ain’t good."

John Lee Hancock's follow up to his 2019 Netflix Original, The Highwaymen, is a slow-burn 90's throwback crime procedural that feels like it's looking into the mirror at a slightly less nihilistic version of David Fincher's Se7en. The film matches a Mr. Robot-like Rami Malek as the rookie LASD detective with the somewhat detached and phoning it in from miles away (and maybe all the way from the 90's) veteran Kern County, CA deputy Denzel Washington as they search the Los Angeles area for a killer of women which they believe to be the campy and low key having too much fun here Jared Leto.

There's something to Hancock's script here, with all its brazen clichés; bad dialogue; wooden lead performances; ghosts in the closet and cloying tropes in tow, that makes this forumulaic exercise kind of nuzzle into place for me. Television is now the base medium for crime dramas and this old school cat and mouse type of picture is kind of a wonderful thing to have, even if nothing really adds up that well visually, tonally or narratively for my liking.

More than anything, it makes me crave for a great crime film again, the kind of film that would have come out somewhere around the time it's set (being around 1990, when Hancock originally conceived this idea), or in the two or three decades preceding it. This conventional anamoly will get lost in the shuffle of 2021 here in the coming weeks, but there's something fascinating - even sobering - about the demons that haunt these underdeveloped characters in this small time lost cause of sorts; a possible great piece of crime noir featuring three Oscar winners that's bottled up in a streaming formula that whittles genre down to its dullest edges as a way of broad appeal for the masses searching through their apps for the next piece of content that might peak their interest just enough to press "Play".

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