“It’s the little things that are important, Jimmy. It’s the little things that get you caught.” So says Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) to his colleague Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) in this dark crime thriller. And later: “It’s the little things that rip you apart.”
To be sure, The Little Things gets a lot of little things right. Big things too, like its trio of Oscar-winning lead actors. Though the casting may be a little too on-the-nose, with Washington playing a cop with an ill-defined but clearly tragic past, and Jared Leto as Albert Sparma, a deeply weird crime buff who might also be an actual criminal.
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Malek is the most interesting of the bunch. The film sets him up as Washington’s nemesis within the police force, and maybe even a bad guy, but watch how the screenplay from writer/director John Lee Hancock nimbly crafts a kind of grudging respect between the two men, even after they get off on the wrong foot.