The Little Things is one of those films that seems very predictable, but at the end there are too many questions without concrete answers. The plot is very simple and at the same time incredibly complex. And to understand the true meaning, the picture needs to be reviewed several times.
The script of the film was written a long time ago, in 1993. The film was able to very accurately convey the complexity of the work of the police without computers, DNA tests and other tricks. The film is not just about a serial killer and the police who tried to understand him. The meaning is much deeper: the price of mistakes and their consequences, how sometimes feelings take over and make a person a hostage to circumstances, the imperfection of the system, the struggle with conscience and one’s own demons.
The meaning of the film & explanation of the ending The Little Things
The film begins with footage of Dick and his partner chasing the maniac in the park. Dick ran into a girl who miraculously managed to escape the killer, but due to high tension, anticipation of a meeting with the criminal and lack of lighting (it was night), he shot her and killed her. It was just a reflex worked out over the years. But it was he who ruined not only his successful career, but also his life. But Dick was acquitted by falsifying the girl’s death certificate.
Dick moved to another city, and young detective Jimmy took his place. When Dick arrives at his old job, he meets Jimmy. Jimmy admires Dick’s deduction and asks for help in investigating the murders. For Dick, catching a killer means overcoming his demon, washing the blood off his hands, so he immediately agrees.
Dick manages to paint a very accurate portrait of the killer. They begin to suspect Albert Sparma. A large number of circumstantial evidence indicates that he is the serial killer: the reaction to the photo from the crime scene (erection), the constant change of jobs, his current job, a car with high mileage …
Detectives were spying, Dick even climbed into Sparma’s house. There he found many newspaper clippings about crimes and literature about murders. But there was not enough time to consider everything in detail. When, during another shadowing, Dick went to the store, Sparma came out and offered Jimmy to show the place where the last victim was buried. Jimmy agreed and got into the car with the alleged maniac. Why? Because the matter had become too personal, just as Dick had warned.
They drive to a wasteland, where Sparma begins to mock Jimmy, play with him and provoke him. Jimmy breaks down and hits Sparma in the head with a shovel. But without calculating the strength, being in the strongest stress, it kills. A little later, Dick finds them. He saw himself and his situation by looking at Jimmy. The same panic, hopelessness, fear and confusion. Dick orders to bury the corpse and forget about everything. He leaves, promising to return in a couple of hours.
Dick goes to Sparma’s house to collect his things and make it look like he left unexpectedly. This time, having examined everything in detail, Dick realized that he was mistaken. Sparma was not a serial maniac. Like a mantra, he repeated that The Little Things, that they show the truth. And fell into his own trap. Sparma was mentally ill and, thus, he asserted himself, enjoyed himself. After all, a few years ago he tried to pass himself off as a maniac, but he was acquitted.
Realizing this, he decided to save Jimmy, save him from the pain of suffering that he himself experienced. This finally broke him, so he switched to saving his partner. Returning to Jimmy, he saw that he was digging non-stop. Jimmy couldn’t believe that there was no body and that Sparma wasn’t the killer.
Knowing that Jimmy will still not be able to live normally and doubts will tear him apart, Dick sends him a red hairpin. As a sign that they were right and Sparma was the killer. And also a note in which there were only two words “not angels” – very accurately and deeply describes the whole essence of the picture. Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes they are very costly.
If you carefully review the picture, you can see that the criminal is not Sparma. The first shots show a man chasing a girl. He had short hair, a mustache and glasses. It is noteworthy that he really had two cars: blue (at the beginning of the film) and brown, which was following the missing girl with the same red hairpin. They do not appear in the film anymore, therefore, the real killer has left the town. As Dick said: “He is a shark and if he stops, he will die.” Jimmy repeatedly thought that Sparma was innocent. But Dick convinced him and they made the very expensive mistake of letting the feelings get the better of them and making the crime too personal.