Rami Malek, Jared Leto and Denzel Washington in The Little Things.

The current Warner Bros. policy of releasing films to theaters and HBO Max on the same day continues with The Little Things, written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and starring the Oscar trifecta of Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.

Washington is a grizzled former detective-turned-sheriff’s deputy, and Malek is a younger all-star investigator; they team up to crack the case of a serial killer. Leto plays a weirdo suspect.

The actors are all great here—that is, as long as the script allows them to be great. That stops happening about three-quarters through the film, when Malek’s character especially gets ruined by some bad screenwriting. There’s just no real explanation for what his detective is thinking, and his swings come in a strange and inexplicable manner. Still, you could do worse than watching the other Oscar winners hitting their marks thanks to better lines and character direction.

Hancock’s direction is slowly paced; while some might grow a little impatient at times, I had no problem with it. I did have an issue with the script’s problems, which could not be completely overcome despite strong efforts from all involved to make it work.

The Little Things is streaming on HBO Max. It is now playing at the Mary Pickford Drive-In Experience (68651 Grove St., Cathedral City).

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