Writer and director, John Lee Hancock, knows how to piece together solid movies that don’t typically take many unnecessary risks but still manage to tell engaging stories. It’s seemed to be that way throughout Hancock’s filmography up to this point.
So The Little Things is about what you’d expect. It’s a rather straightforward crime thriller and while at times a slightly boring one, it’s still an appealing movie.
The acting is what you would expect from a trio of academy award winners like Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, and it’s what I find myself reflecting on the most. While there aren’t any best actor worthy performances from either of the three actors, it’s what the title suggests that peaks my interest. It’s the little things. It’s the characteristic nuances in the trio’s work that carries the movie on its shoulders and these little things as a whole end up weighing the most.
It’s Denzel’s continual ability to present each of his characters importance with seasoned ease. His range isn’t that far-reaching but in his older age, that niche acting spectrum is always pleasing. So in Washington’s case it’s mostly Denzel being Denzel Washington in The Little Things.
It’s Jared Leto’s ability to throw himself into a tremendous range of characters from the natural to supernatural while also utilizing, exploiting characteristic subtleties that are always one of a kind. Sparma’s greasy long hair, his goofy swinging walk, the finger pointing, the odd idioms and the beady eyes make the character the most memorable. There are times that Leto doesn’t even look like himself.
But when it comes to Rami Malek, the beady eyes, the blank stares, the way he moves his mouth to talk or just to smirk and his accent, the short burst of anger, these select character subtleties just feel like a product of his almost unexplainably off putting nature. But it’s enough to flesh out those finer details for each role he takes on for better or for worse, and in The Little Things, it’s on full display.
So as the title states, it really is The Little Things that get you caught. whether that be the directing, cinematography, budget, animation, or the acting, that can collectively or independently make or break a movie. Audiences can sniff out when something just doesn’t work. But the acting in The Little Things feels like enough to make the movie work.