Netflix Crime Detective Murder Thriller Makes You Question Good And Evil

By TeeJay Small | Updated

The little things

In the modern age of complex storytelling and in-depth character studies, many crime thrillers test the strength of empathy within the viewing public. One film that expertly navigates this uncomfortable examination of good and evil is 2021’s The Little Things, starring Denzel Washington. The film, which was written and directed by The Founder filmmaker John Lee Hancock, is currently available to stream on Netflix.

A John Lee Hancock Story

the little things 2021

Long before the film premiered in theaters, John Lee Hancock had been working on the script for The Little Things, with the intention of attaching another acclaimed filmmaker to direct. Steven Spielberg turned the film down for being too dark and gritty back in the 1990s, before the script passed along the desks of Danny DeVito, Clint Eastwood, and Warren Beatty. Finally, after helming such projects as The Alamo, The Blind Side, and The Highwaymen, Hancock came to the realization that if you want something done right, you’ve just got to do it yourself.

Serial Slayings In The Little Things

the little things 2021

The Little Things touts an exceptional cast of performers, including Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Natalie Morales, and, as mentioned before, Denzel Washington. The movie is a mind-bending psychological thriller, which centers on a number of alarming murders taking place in the Los Angeles area during the year 1990. A pair of detectives, each determined to get to the bottom of the case to ease their own personal burdens, join forces to solve the serial slayings, leading them directly to a bizarre local man named Albert Sparma.

An Unraveling Mystery

the little things 2021

Sparma continues to taunt the investigating officers, before turning himself in for a murder that he didn’t commit. Though the police are highly confused by Sparma’s antics, they resolve to let him go, as they can’t connect him directly with any crime. Detectives Baxter and Deacon are convinced that Sparma is their man, however, causing them to conduct an illegal search of his residence, digging through all the little things he owns in order to implicate him.

Twists And Turns

the little things 2021

After doing substantial research on the strange man, Baxter and Deacon come to the conclusion that Sparma gets a sick, perhaps sexual thrill from upsetting cops and wasting their time. Sparma again claims that he has killed the most recent victim, before rescinding his confession. The thrilling conclusion of The Little Things instills an intense sense of questioning and fear within viewers everywhere.

Never Had A Chance, But Worth A Watch


The Little Things suffered greatly from being released in 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which decimated theater viewing. As a result, the film flopped at the box office, just barely breaking $31 million globally against an estimated production budget of over $30 million. Despite receiving criminally-low reviews from critics, many viewers who caught the film fell in love with Denzel Washington’s exceptional performance.

Today, the film has been largely forgotten, though it has some of the best moral ambiguity and unsolved mystery elements of any movie released in the last decade or so. If you’d like to catch The Little Things today, the film is currently streaming on Netflix.