It’s ‘The Little Things’ that ruin a movie

Warner Bros. Pictures [Fair Use]

“The Little Things” in is set in 1990’s L.A. and follows two police officers on the hunt for a serial killer. They discover a man who becomes their prime suspect.

Henry Sanders, Student Life Editor

Have you ever tried to pack for a trip and you just couldn’t seem to fit all your belongings in one suitcase? Or maybe the trunk of the car was just too small for your family’s abundant travel items? Imagine trying to fit an intriguing plot, adequate character development, and good cinematography in a two hour movie that in actuality needs a full 12-episode season. That’s what HBO Max’s newest film “The Little Things” feels like.

Ex-detective now turned highway patrolman Deke, played by Denzel Washington, joins forces with a young Detective Baxter, played by Rami Malek, to uncover a string of murders that goes back to Deke’s time as a detective. With two heavyweight actors playing the main detectives, the anticipation of finding the killer is at an all time high until you watch for yourself the rushed and awkward character dialogue between Washington and Malek. 

Detective Baxter at first despises Deke. Five minutes later they’re best friends. I honestly thought I accidentally skipped 20 minutes of the movie until a scene between the two detectives showed Malek’s character’s voice not in sync with the dialogue. This completely took me out of the movie and left me uninterested the rest of the way.

With his award winning show “Mr. Robot” and Oscar winning performance as Freddie Mercury, Malek is, unfortunately, the most awkward and disappointing actor in the entire film. His acting made me cringe as he strained to act as the cool and swaggering young detective. It didn’t help that the movie loves to throw the fact that he has family into your face in almost every scene he’s in. I don’t care if he’s worried about his wife and children if he defies the laws of sound and talks out of sync.

While I cringed at Malek’s performance, I did become intrigued by Jared Leto’s character, Sparma, who is obviously the main suspect. This is obvious in how he undermines the detectives once he is taken in for questioning. Washington’s character became way more nuanced once he found Sparma, who shows up around the halfway mark.

The second half of the movie is more interesting than the first half, but it still has its problems. The plot twist was, I have to admit, something I was not expecting at all. If you can withstand the first 45 minutes of undeveloped characters and unsynced audio, then you might be able to enjoy Washington and Leto’s performance with a surprising twist at the end. If not, stick with better fare such as “Knives Out.”