The Little Things Review: Much Ado About Almost Nothing

 The  Little  Things

Starring Denzel Washington ,Rami Malek ,Jared Leto

Directed  by  John  Hancock

Rating: **

This  has got to be  the most pretentious  crime thriller  of all times. Borrowing from classics  of  the genre  like Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and David Fincher’s Seven, director John Hancock seems to repose  incommensurate trust  in the two lead  players to  see the narrative   across its gaping  plot-holes.

Alas, it doesn’t happen that way. Denzel Washington who has  worked in some  of the finest films in our times, cannot save  this one from being a near-disaster.As  for Rami Malek,  this Egyptian actor has  not impressed me much   in  any of his screen outings. He  teams up with Washington as two police officers investigating  a series of brutal murders  in Los Angeles, in the 1990s. Why a murder  mystery  in  the  90s? No one  has a clue.

Right from the outset the pair of cop heroes seems  ill-matched and awkward in each other’s company. Initially this could be explained  by the fact that the duo did not know one  another from before. However as they proceed to become partners  in  crime-busting they still look as though they would rather be anyhere else.So would we.

 The  screenplay  has enough  loopholes to cover an entire stadium  ground.It  starts with a semi-bang with a prologue of  scared fleeing  girl straight  out of  a slasher  film.By the time the  serial killings warm  up the  plot is choking for breath. The  interrogations  of  the suspects appear to be indifferently used to intersperse the  two cop-hero’s  limp interactive  synergy.We are given fleeting glances  of their home  life. But it all seem  planted, made-up.

 Midway through the  film the interesting Jared Leto emerges as  the prime  suspect.One would think the plot woud finally liven  up. Instead the  absurdities get even more frequent. In one sequence Jim Baxter(Rami Malek)  invites the prime suspect out of his home so that his partner Joe Deacon(Denzel Wahshington) could  look through the suspect’s home  for evidence.  Instead of being with the suspect to ensure he doesn’t return before  Deacon is done,Baxter sits in the car below as Deacon ransacks the  suspect’s home.

 The climax is a howl and a hoot. Baxter is made to dig  holes   in a barren  farmland  by the prime suspect  in the promise of  finding the body of  a victim. As he digs one  hole after another I wonder how Rami Malik who plays Baxter kept  a straight face.As the camera  moves  back for an aerial shot of those  holes  I could only see the shot as a metaphor for the  plot’s  gaping holes.

The Little Things ends  with Washington sending  Malik a red barrette presumably belonging to a  murder victim , when the fact is , they are still not sure if  their prime suspect is the actual murderer.

Do we really care? Do even the actors care?I hope  Washington and Malik got paid well for standing around pretending to take the dead plot seriously.I was   stifled  by the sheer phoniness  of this arty slasher , ha ha,thriller.

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