As a concept in itself, The Little Things managed to captivate me to watch it. Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as cops chasing after Jared Leto who played the weirdo and the eccentric was enough to catch my eye because I didn't expect to be able to see all three in one film. But even with that undoubted name, there was still a feeling of lacking after I finished watching it. There is something that makes this film feel awkward in its storytelling.
Judging from the narrative itself, this film has an interesting plot.We follow Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) or commonly called "Deke", a sheriff in Kern County (near Los Angeles) which at the beginning of the film is only tasked with gathering evidence on the latest murder cases.
Then this film has another side, which is also to explore Deke's mysterious past. We know he used to be a detective for shining Los Angeles, but a problem made him move to become a sheriff in the next town. There was a mysterious aura surrounding him. And because of his past, he was invited by a Los Angeles detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to help him solve a kidnapping and murder case that was rife in the city with the nickname "City of Angels" because Jim knew Joe could help him despite his past. not clear.
The concept sounds tantalizing. To unearth a serial murder mystery while uncovering the main character's past sounds like an extraordinary recipe for a neo-noir film . But as the film progresses and the more the story unfolds, I feel that these two things do not seem to complement each other, but are against each other. In the end, what happens is that this film doesn't have much of a chance to really dive into these two stories.
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Running for two hours, there is an impression I often get when watching The Little Things : rush. Every scene sometimes feels like a fast pace and then before I get into what happened, this film immediately turns our attention towards the next scene. Either because there are scenes that use too many cuts or the transitions are too fast and stiff, the narrative of this film can end up being choppy one moment then too fast the next. And that's a shame, considering how John Lee Hancock has built such a very interesting world around him.
Los Angeles does look like a city full of mysteries and dark secrets. There is a sense of seduction that comes from it, and that's why the city is the perfect setting for a neo-noir like The Little Things . With the majority of the time being at night and the light-bathed screens of the streets it reminded me of one of my favorite films, Drive . It may not be fair to compare The Little Things with Drive , but if only this film can take advantage of its already tantalizing nuance, it is not impossible to have a visual level like the film of Nicolas Winding Refn.
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What really ties the film together without making it look messy are the three actors. Jared Leto's appearance is disturbing in the sense that he nicely portrays someone who appears to have a mental breakdown as well as a blank gaze but has a cunning brain. His character is indeed a “crazy but smart and cunning” antagonist where he can play tricks on Deke and Jim. His presence is necessary because it is his character who can provide the kick this film needs to add intensity to the story.
If it is Jared Leto's character that adds to the absurdity to the story, then his characters Denzel Washington and Rami Malek are what the counters are. Rami Malek may appear to have a flat voice and a one-dimensional facial expression, but the traits of her character, Jim, keep pace with her co-stars, Jared Leto and Denzel Washington. Behind the calmness and level of his character, there is a dark side that follows Jim and the deeper he follows this case, the more he looks mentally shaken and it is this psychological game that keeps Jim's character relevant in the story and not wasted halfway.
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Denzel Washington, who plays Deke also perfectly matches the other two characters. If Jared is too eccentric, then he can compensate by being calm but also having the intensity behind his eyes. If Rami is too weak and swayed, then she is the one who can revive the spirit of her character. Denzel is one of those actors who can quickly adapt to the narrative he demands, and it is this extraordinary talent that keeps Deke a unique character and captivates my attention as the film progresses.
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But even though he seems to be trying his best to bring the characters to life both his own and those around him, there are still moments where the scene with Denzel in it doesn't seem smooth. The Little Things looks like a half-hearted film, not sure where the film is going, until finally after watching it I agree with many others, this film is similar to Se7en but not in a good way. Interesting, but didn't hold me as well as I expected.
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