When you see the cast of a cop thriller includes Denzel Washington ("Training Day," "Fences”), Jared Leto (“Suicide Squad," “Blade Runner 2049”) and Rami Malek (“Night at the Museum," “24”), it makes you wonder who will be playing the bad guy in "The Little Things."
Right from the beginning, we learn Denzel and Rami are the cops; the question of who the good guys actually are is the central theme of the film to the end.
In addition, with John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side," “Saving Mr. Banks”) on board as both writer and director, this star-studded event creates the highest of expectations, but settles into merely the expected level of competency for all involved.
Rami is a stiff, buttoned-up replacement homicide detective for near-retirement Denzel, who looks nowhere near retirement age, when a familiar case finds a fresh victim. Haunted by his past literally, Denzel takes on the role of mentor for better or worse. He already lost his wife and health to this case and now he either wants to help Rami finally solve it or keep his heir from getting caught up in the same obsession.
Denzel is effective with well-timed menacing looks and Rami's already buggy eyes inconceivably get bigger every time they investigate a new crime scene or interrogate a witness. Confusing things once they have a creepy prime suspect in Leto is the fact he is a well-studied crime buff himself, however guilty he may appear on the surface.
A soundtrack of "My Guy" and "I Will Follow Him" winks at us in the background as our would-be heroes surveil and tail Leto, which echoes the subtle playful tone of this otherwise dark film. After a stakeout gone bad however, it's no longer about who the criminal is, but about managing the collateral damage of the process itself as the little things turn out to be the big things after all.