BlackNerdMagic’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Your d*** is as hard as Chinese arithmetic"
Big things are wrong with John Lee Hancock's "The Little Things", a crime drama that is in dire need of a shot of vodka to loosen up its stiff demeanor. The draw of this film is supposed to be the dark physiological aspects but it's unable to dig deep relying on awkward tonal shifts that erase the darkness with comical lighthearted moments that have no place in a story about detectives grappling with a serial killer. Denzel prods along with a mopey demeanor lacking the charisma and attention-grabbing effect of his usual roles. The blame is in the atrocious screenplay that tries with its might to be compelling only to stumble with weird dialogue passages and missing characterization. The details you receive on the background of any notable figure in the story is delivered from the mouths of other characters instead of taking the time to engage in active development. Malek's obsessed and decorated detective has the personality of a planking board prodding through each scene with the engagement of someone who understands they made the wrong choice in singing up for this sinking ship. Jared Leto's "Charles Manson lite" antagonist is another new low for the hot and cold actor who does nothing but play the easy to see serial killer with no passion or fascination.
Se7en and Zodiac are the obvious influences floating around this wannabe; this new age crime thriller that wants to go dark but then awkwardly turns the light on sprinkling processed moments of humor, weak drama moments, and wasting the 90s aesthetic immediately with the strange obsession of using 1950s and 60s needle drops. Thomas Newman crafts a score that would have felt timely.....in a 1980s crime film; a menacing piano score that gets put back in the closet for music featuring harps and heavy vocalization. Everyone involved seems to have phoned it in and it shows every minute from the lifeless cinematography to the inconsistent character decisions that move the plot along to a wonky conclusion. HBO Max is best to let this sit among the cauldrons of forgettable streaming films; not even worth a matinee ticket if theaters are open around anyone reading this. Pathetic, simple and plain.