Hey everyone! I have a quick review for you today of the new film from Warner Bros entitled The Little Things. This is a new police crime thriller directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. With such an all-star cast you’d think The Little Things would be a slam dunk but it ends up being thoroughly average and bland.
Washington plays Duke a small town sheriff who returns to the big city to get some evidence for his boss only to be brought back into a serial killer investigation by Malek’s young officer Jimmy Baxter. Duke is known as a legendary detective but something in his past made him give up on the career. I wonder if this new case will unearth some of his daemons from the past? No spoilers but it might just happen.
Jared Leto plays the serial killer of the film and he’s a little over-the-top but for the most part he’s fine. Malek does a good job with what he is given but his character doesn’t always make sense. Especially towards the end I was puzzled by his character’s choices.
Again, with no spoilers, the ending, is difficult to predict so some people will like that but it didn’t all come together or feel believable. In fairness, this type of police procedural is not my favorite to begin with but it didn’t win me over. Even Denzel’s performance, while decent, feels a little phoned in compared to what we know he can do in films like Hurricane, Glory or Malcolm X
However, the biggest problem with The Lille Things is its pacing at 127 minutes the story really drags and I struggled to stay engaged. I actually think edited for TV it might work better and be a little snappier. That’s the only way I’d recommend it is as a filler movie on a Saturday night on TBS. It’s fine for that but nothing to go to the theater in covid to see or to watch on HBO Max right away.
I’ve said it many times on this site but faith-based films are perhaps the toughest genre of films to pull off. What is a pure and powerful testimony to one may come off as cloying and preachy to another. So often the ministry gets in the way of telling a good story. It is this difficulty that makes me happy whenever there are well done Christian films on the market. The new movie Tulsa is such an example. While it isn’t perfect, it is a sweet story about the good a little girl and God’s grace can do.
The title Tulsa actually comes from our lead character a little girl named Tulsa (if they explained why I must have missed it). A child of foster care she is reunited with her father Tommy who is a struggling addict who is hiding from his broken pass. Much like Pollyanna in the Disney classic cheers up all around her, so does Tulsa but she is also a little girl of faith who knows her Bible inside and out.
For some people this will be too cloying, but I think it struck a nice balance of a redemptive message with real-world problems. Nothing felt too unbelievable or pentacostal in its presentation. It also helps that little Tulsa is played by newcomer Livi Birch and she shines in the role. If she wants to be an actress she definitely has the raw natural talent to do it. Scott Pryor does a good job as Tommy but his role is more basic. The movie lives and dies on the back of Branch’s charisma and warmth.
There are definitely moments you can feel the budget in Tulsa particularly in the supporting performances. Also a plot-point involving an angry employee at Tommy’s auto-shop feels unnecessary and distracting (pretty much anytime Birch is off screen the movie suffers but luckily those are few and far between.
There are some weightier themes of addiction, suicide and death explored so not for young children. But adults and teens of faith will enjoy Tulsa and in particular love Livi Birch’s wonderful performance. It will be available on all the streaming services 2/1/2021