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If it didn’t plod quite so tamely in the footsteps of films such as Seven and Zodiac; if Rami Malek had chosen to use more than one facial expression in his performance, then perhaps this overly familiar tale of obsessed cops and serial killers might feel less stale. As it is, it’s about as fresh as a bloated, bile-tinged corpse dredged from the Los Angeles river, with a markedly similar colour palette to boot.
As deputy sheriff Joe Deacon, Denzel Washington’s shuffling gait and round shoulders belie a sharp mind that is wasted in the quiet backwater where he now works. Sent to LA, his old stomping ground, Joe is confronted by former colleagues less than thrilled to see him, and by his successor Jim Baxter (Malek), who is about as wholesome as it’s possible to be in a job that involves scrutinising corpses on a daily basis. Initial hostility warms into mutual respect, as the two men bond over the investigation of a series of murders.
John Lee Hancock, who wrote as well as directed the film, is no David Fincher, but his use of colour is bold: green is threaded through The Little Things like a trail of clues – the eyes of a victim, the pistachio paintwork of a suspect’s car, the throbbing emerald of Joe’s hotel room breakdown. But as the detectives start to lose the plot, so does the film, fizzling into an unravelling tangle of loose ends.
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Source: The Guardian
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