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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.


The Little Things (2021) on IMDb

Plot Overview

cop writing ticketKern County deputy sheriff old black Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) while on a foray to L.A. to transport some critical evidence meets their clean cut, youth­ful homicide detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) whose serial case resembles one of Joe's up north, so Deke takes some vacation time and they become an ad hoc team. Deke's former boss man LASD Captain Carl Farris (Terry Kinney) wants him out of their hair, and he is going to give the case to the feds in a few days any­way. Deke's punctilious pursuit of dimin­utive facts yields a marginal suspect in smarmy, hirsute Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) who is police-procedure savvy enough to avoid probable cause, so Deke just trails him down the inter­state but loses him on the clover­leafs. There's a saying among polar bear hunters, that if you lose sight of the bear, that means the bear is hunting you.


dad and childThe captain has a prominently displayed biblical saying on his wall, “A Friend Loves at All Times …,” as in (Prov. 17:17) “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” When Deke took off from his rural home to drive to L.A., he parted from his doggie best friend for what was to be a day trip, but his return got delayed. The dog, of course, being man's best friend maintained its friendly disposition despite its seeming abandon­ment. This interspecies friend­ship sets the tone for the whole movie when Deke soon develops an inter­racial friend­ship with Jimmy, to the point of accepting his family's hospitality.

The “at all times” motif is cleverly written into the plot: Deke checks the employees of AAA New and Used Appliances for the repair­man who had access to a female victim's apartment. Of course, that business name would always be at the top of the alpha­betical list in the (1990) Yellow Pages. Sparma rolled back the odometer on his car so it would always read new to a potential buyer. And for recreation he frequented VIP Showgirls Gentlemen's Club where he would always receive attention from the gentle sex.

Suspecting he was lured away from his apartment to allow the crafty cops to do a covert search, Sparma phoned in a false report of “officer down” so they would swarm the place right away. As the proverb says, “a brother is born for adversity.” A cop is down and his brothers-in-blue come a-running. This is important to the story as it is subtly dropped that Capt. Farris had done his fellow officer Deacon a solid back during his stint in L.A., which is why he was now supposed to make him­self scarce, to avoid any blowback.

Said undisclosed coverup would necessarily have involved the coroner, as well, a hefty, colored woman Flo Dunigan (Michael Hyatt) unlikely to cut the man any slack. What gives?

Jim Baxter: “Something I gotta know. How's the guy with the best clearance rate in the department work fifteen years without a promotion?”

Joe 'Deke' Deacon: “May be I didn't go to the right church.”

Deke is understandably appreciative of the solid Flo, too, had done him way back when; he treats her to a meal at a soul foods restaurant to show it. If she wouldn't cross the line for a fellow cop, then perhaps she did it for a brother, one who went to “the right church.”

lawn guyMaybe there would develop an opportunity for Deke to return the favor to the department, even if it's just helping his new friend cut the grass, Clive Cussler style:

He opened the trunk and removed the crate they'd picked up at Shannon Airport. Inside he found a rectangular box, an LED panel, four wheels, a frame, and a wrench. He assembled the pieces into the shape of a lawn mower, with the screen mounted on the handlebars.

Brophy shook his head. “You going to mow the grass with that thing?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes,” Dirk said. “It's a ground-penetrating radar system. If the soil's conditions cooperate, it will give us a peak at any subsurface objects.”

“Like a sarcophagus?”

“Like a sarcophagus.”

“Then let's go cut some grass.” Brophy grabbed a shovel from the trunk and turned from the car. (275–6)

Production Values

” (2021) was written and directed by John Lee Hancock. It stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto. Supporting cast includes Chris Bauer, Terry Kinney, Glenn Morshower, Natalie Morales, and Michael Hyatt. The leads were good and the supporting parts brief.

MPAA rated it R for violent/dis­turbing images, language and full nudity. It was filmed in Santa Clarita, California. Run­time is 128 minutes. The atmosphere is dark and the camera work creative.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I just love psychological, forensic, thrillers like this one. “The Little Things” is not predictable unless you happen to be a student of the proverbs. It keeps one off balance until the end, and then some. If this genre appeals to you, you won't be disappointed.

Movie Ratings

Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Action factor: Decent action scenes. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Cussler, Clive and Dirk Cussler. Celtic Empire. Copyright © 2019 by Sandecker, RLLLP. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2019. Print.