ESP’s film reviewer Gavin Miller has been keeping a close eye on the small screen to keep you up to speed on what’s worth a watch. Is the latest Denzel Washington movie one to rent? Gav gives his view…
Three Oscar winners headline this neo-noir thriller from the director of The Blind Side – all impressing in an ultimately underwhelming crime story.
Denzel Washington’s former LA police detective Joe ‘Deke’ Deacon – who now due to apparent previous misdemeanours has downgraded to a Bakersfield-based Deputy Sheriff – is sent back to his former Los Angeles territory in what should be a quick evidence-gathering assignment pertaining to a recent murder.
But when Deke accompanies recently-appointed-to-the-case lead detective Jimmy Baxter (Bohemian Rhapsody’s – and soon to be Bond villain in No Time to Die – Rami Malek), he notices similarities between the killing and the modus operandi of an old serial murder case he was unable to solve – and has ‘eaten him up inside’ ever since he left California’s most famous city.
This leads to Deke once again becoming embroiled in the case as he joins Baxter – who realises that his new partner got divorced and suffered a heart attack due to his obsession with the unsolved case – in re-commencing the hunt for the potential killer.
But as more women go missing – leading them to a suspect in the form of Jared Leto’s (who was also Golden Globe-nominated for his performance) repair shop worker Albert Sparma – the duo get entwined in a dark and sinister world where the lines of fact and fiction get blurred.
While The Little Things might not be everyone’s cup-of-tea with its slow and brooding storyline (particularly in the final third) that leads to a potentially unsatisfactory climax in some people’s eyes, it’s actually ‘the big things’ that make it impressive – primarily three stellar performances from the male leads in this solidly-crafted film.
It’s arguably not quite as clever as the filmmakers think it is – hence coming up short when garnering nominations during awards season (bar Leto) – due to overly familiar tropes for genre fans, but still offers an acting masterclass among a stylish backdrop.
And with Washington and co always good value, it shows big things come in small packages – despite it offering nothing new below its glossy Se7en-wannabe shell.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Platforms: Sky, Amazon Prime, Apple TV
Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Chris Bauer, Michael Hyatt, Terry Kinney, Natalie Morales, Isabel Arraiza, Terry Kinney, Sofia Vassilieva & Jason James Richter
Running Time: 2 Hrs 8 Mins
Director: John Lee Hancock