Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Denzel Washington and Rami Malek hunt a killer in The Little Things trailer

Denzel Washington in The Little Things
Denzel Washington in The Little Things
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Whenever you watch a trailer for a film that revolves around the hunt for a killer, three suspicions tend to arise:

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  1. Is the person who looks like the killer really the killer?
  2. Is the killer actually one of the seeming protagonists?
  3. Or is the killer someone else entirely, thereby rendering our interpretation of this trailer completely moot?

Based on the trailer for The Little Things, the new film from writer-director John Lee Hancock, our hunch at the moment is that there’s a good chance question number two might be headed in the right direction. Then again, that’s probably just the red-herring intent of this trailer—or so it would have us believe. The film follows small-town Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) who is sent to L.A. for some routine work and finds himself unofficially recruited by L.A. Sergeant Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to help track down a killer menacing the city. From the look of it, scraggly weirdo Jared Leto—or rather, his character—is involved in some way, but as tends to be the case with these things, it’s a little more complicated than it seems. As the press release explains, “Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.”

Setting aside the prestige hook of having three Oscar winners topline this movie, The Little Things looks like a thoroughly lurid and probably very entertaining slice of nasty, pulpy thrills—in other words, exactly the kind of project that Denzel Washington has been having fun playing around in for nearly three decades, now. Let’s hope Hancock brings a sharper sense of excitement to this than he did his last cops-hunting-killers movie, 2019's The Highwaymen.

The film will be released in theaters on January 29—but more importantly, it will be available on HBO Max that same day, another high-profile feather in the cap of the increasingly much-less-confusing streaming service in its mission to take on Netflix. Which, let us just take another moment to say that we are one hundred percent behind Warner Brothers’ decision; we want the movie theater experience back as much as anyone, but let’s acknowledge that this is a year unlike any other and just allow for the necessity of staying home—and staying safe—in the meantime.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.