Paul Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
Even though The Little Things organises it's mixed elements in a position that should have at least made for at slightly passable captivating thriller, this John Lee Hancock written and directed film ultimately and frustratingly falls flat. It's difficult to say why he felt the need to set the story in the early 1990s. Maybe he just wanted to recapture the polluted characteristics of the pre-gentrification Los Angeles downtown area for the added atmosphere as his film wishes to be more than a whodunit: it's far more an investigation of the psychologically and spiritually destructive consequences of police work
Denzel Washington plays Joe Deacon, a weary former professional detective in Los Angeles with keen intuitions and a battered conscience but has since drifted on to the comparative calmer location of Kern County. Hancock illustrates a particular complexion with his portrayal of detective work as Deacon becomes drawn back to the city and becomes involved in investigating a new murder related to a case from his past and invited to give a hand to younger detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek).
It initially gives off vibes of shaping into a traditional thriller mixed with the darkness of Seven and is front-loaded with small eccentricities, which are typically fun in films such as these, but it all too quickly becomes disappointing. Things quickly fall apart once Deacon and Baxter land on their leading suspect, Albert Sparma, played by Jared Leto, never my favourite actor. There's never a sense of urgency in carrying the story to its resolution, and Leto, who never seems to change his clothes in the entire movie, throws any grounded nature the film was trying to achieve under the bus with his ridiculous overacting and forced menace. The movie doesn't even manage to deliver a satisfying payoff.