The Blind Side (2009), and Saving Mr. Banks (2013), director John Lee Hancock stepped into the darker realm of storytelling with the latest film he directed, The Little Things . Set in 1990, the film, which was also written by Hancock, tells the story of two police officers, Joe Deacon ( Denzel Washington ) and Jim Baxter ( Rami Malek).), who is trying to catch a serial killer who is on the loose and causing unrest in the people of the Los Angeles area, United States. After going through a series of investigative processes, Joe Deacon and Jim Baxter focus their attention on a reclusive man named Albert Sparma ( Jared Leto ) who is considered to meet the criteria for the figure they are looking for and is suspected of being the perpetrator of a series of murder cases they are investigating.
With a dark storytelling atmosphere and storytelling that tends to run slowly, it will not be surprising if The Little Things then gets a number of comparisons with the mystery film about serial murder directed by David Fincher, Seven (1995). Unfortunately, Hancock is not able to deliver the intelligence or storytelling power that Fincher displays in Seven . When Fincher spends minute by minute the duration of Seven’s presentation to unravel the mysteries and open layers of stories in each conflict and character that appears in the storyline of his film, The Little ThingsInstead, they often focus on the drama that exists between the characters of Joe Deacon and Jim Baxter. The mystery building about a series of murders and who was behind the crime actually failed to work out properly and made The Little Things feel quite bland in its story.
Hancock could indeed reason that the focus of the story that continues to follow the figures of Joe Deacon and Jim Baxter is made as a buffer for the presence of a twist in the story which will be opened at the end of the third half of the film’s storytelling. However, at the same time, it is undeniable that The Little Things has lost the essence of its mystery presentation when this film chooses not to give a more mature development to the conflict which is the central theme of the story. The direction given by Hancock also doesn’t give much meaningful boost to the overall quality of The Little Things story . The Little Thingsindeed, it is still able to be presented with a quality production system that does not disappoint, but Hancock’s choice to flow the empty narrative of the film with a halting rhythm makes the 128 minute duration of The Little Things narration so torturous.
Trivia: Did you know that Washington was Fincher’s first choice to star in Seven before finally giving Brad Pitt the lead role in the film? Washington’s efforts to bury his regret in refusing Fincher’s offer are still able to be presented with convincing acting performances. Unfortunately, like almost all parts of the storytelling of The Little Things, the character Joe Deacon played by Washington never felt really interesting due to the character development that felt so shallow. Together with Washington, Malek and Leto also managed to provide excellent quality performances for the characters they played. The acting department of this film is perhaps the only element that still deserves a bit of praise. In addition, it is not difficult to place The Little Things as a familiar mystery dish but fails to be executed optimally.