Let it always be known that I dislike everyone imitating e e cummings. Write in all caps. And I don't like leading articles in titles; "Little Things" is a better title. The entire credits are in lowercase, and I hate it.
How is it that 1990 is a period era? Yeah, it's 30 years ago, and they only have pagers and big CRT monitors, but it's post Cold War, LA is a shithole… it's not clear if this is before or after Rodney King, but nothing really changed. You could set this in the present and it'd be unchanged. Apparently the script was written in 1993, and took 26 years for someone's slush pile to get low enough for this to be produced.
The starting scene is annoying, car drives past a girl driving her car at night, then she pulls into a deserted diner to try to shelter, then runs into the desert, instead of just driving on. That's kind of repeated multiple times, with victims being killed because they were stupid, or just let their guard down. Blaming the victim, instead of building up the killer.
A working sheriff's deputy Joe "Deke" Deacon (Denzel Washington) does an evidence run to LA, hangs around and gets involved in local serial killer investigation. Which is a lot like his backstory investigation that burned him out. Denzel lays out some rules for how to be a bad cop, and immediately breaks them himself.
The LA sheriffs are mostly awful. Rami Malek (the whiny millennial with the bug eyes from Mr Robot), Chris Bauer (Tony Sobotka from the bad season of The Wire), Terry Kinney as a Christfucker captain. Rami's trying to learn something from Denzel, but he's barely even there, a mannequin being pushed around would have more presence. The coroner (Michael Hyatt, the black lady with the very male honkie name, you may remember as Bri Barksdale on The Wire and from Nightcrawler) is essential to the actual plot, but she gets only a couple of scenes. Jared Leto, my least favorite person in film, is skanky but not really menacing, obviously fucking around stoned most of the show. I will say, he gets what he deserves for the first time since American Psycho; it doesn't pay off having to watch this film, but it's something.
Unbelievably slow. Over 2 hour movie, one crime scene in detail, another seen on the edges. No real suspects. Slow police work leads nowhere. What we do find out about is Denzel's backstory, but only through flashbacks, very tell-not-show.
Completely misses a chance to reference The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly "There's two kinds of people in this world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You… dig."
★★☆☆☆ — absolutely a waste of my time.