“The Little Things,” featuring Denzel Washington, has made its way onto Netflix, allowing a fresh audience to engage with its divisive conclusion, two years after its initial release.
The film revolves around Los Angeles detectives Joe ‘Deke’ Deacon (Washington) and Jimmy Baxter (Rami Malek) as they endeavor to apprehend a serial killer whose modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to an unresolved case from Deke’s haunting past.
Their pursuit of the latest murder leads them to the eerie Albert Sparma (portrayed by Jared Leto), a man who revels in taunting the detectives about their inability to crack the case. He even confesses to a killing that seems impossible for him to have committed – or so it appears.
When cornered by Baxter, Sparma promises to lead the detective to the body of one of the deceased women, a proposition that Baxter readily accepts. Deke tails behind in his car, setting the stage for a startling climax.
The resolution of ‘The Little Things’ is a subject of much debate, leaving audiences pondering the true identity of the killer and the implications of the final scenes. Read on for an exploration of the film’s enigmatic conclusion and a deeper understanding of who holds the answers to its central mystery.
The Little Things ending explained: Who was the real killer?
In the climax of “The Little Things,” Sparma leads Baxter to a supposed burial site of one of his victims. Despite a relentless search, nobody is discovered. Sparma’s taunts push Baxter to his breaking point, resulting in him fatally assaulting Sparma with a shovel.
Deke arrives on the scene with the intention of covering up Sparma’s death. The film then transitions to a flashback, revealing a past incident where Deke accidentally shot a missing girl, an event that was subsequently concealed by the coroner.
Deke advises Baxter to let go of the obsession with Sparma, warning that it will consume him entirely. However, Baxter persists in scouring the desert for a body, to no avail.
The film’s conclusion introduces a final sequence wherein Baxter receives a package containing a red hair clip identical to those worn by the murder victims. The scene then shifts to Deke burning Sparma’s belongings along with a new box of hair clips, the red one conspicuously absent. This gesture implies that Deke purchased the hair clip and sent it to Baxter, hoping to provide him with a sense of closure and assurance that he did the right thing.
The ending deliberately leaves the central mystery unresolved. The audience is not provided with a definitive answer regarding who committed the murders. Instead, the focus shifts to the emotional and moral dilemmas faced by the characters, particularly Deke and Baxter.
Director John Lee Hancock maintains ambiguity about the conclusion, emphasizing that there are valid arguments for both possibilities. The film’s closing moments are intentionally left open to interpretation, inviting viewers to grapple with the moral ambiguity surrounding the characters’ actions.
Jared Leto, who portrayed Sparma, chose to arrive at his own conclusion about the character’s guilt or innocence, but he never disclosed it to the director, underscoring the intentional ambiguity of the film’s conclusion. Hancock emphasizes that the ending is meant to be unsettling and thought-provoking, delving into shades of moral gray. The film ultimately challenges its audience to confront the complexities of justice, guilt, and closure.