The Little Things – Trimming the fat from script to screen!

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An excerpt from my script review for The Little Things which will be available 02/01/21:

2.) Plot Stability

Just like 3way, I too enjoyed this script.

So much so, in fact, that no sooner had I finished reading it last night that I went downstairs and put it on HBO Max for the boss and I to watch.

(A service we’re truly grateful for during a pandemic.)

The point I want to focus on here though is the idea of “trimming the fat”.

This script clocked in at 140 pages.

In too many reviews I’ve argued that scripts of this length are bloated, needing to cut out portions to yield a tight story.

Now, I’ll still argue an undiscovered screenwriter should never submit a screenplay of this length, but this particular script did not read like 140 pages.

That’s important.

Even so…after reading and then watching, I was glad to see that the movie did exactly what I’ve argued in those past reviews.

Hancock trimmed the fat off his own project.

Although I truly enjoyed some of what was missing, it was unnecessary, because the subtext was implied elsewhere (like for Deke’s back story) and sometimes led to more of a mystery.

In regards to Deke’s past, I enjoyed the “slow burn” of the reveal, sprinkling in little bits until the very end. My main concern was that this would drag out to the point of annoyance, but it wasn’t because both the past and present were intertwined together properly.

Then there’s the cat and mouse with Sparma.

Fantastic.

The car tailing sequence, the interrogation (adlibbed a bit from the script which worked out better), and just Sparma’s general demeanor.

Is he the villain or isn’t he?

Two bits that I did take serious issue with however.

First, how Deke talks to a dead Julie in the coroner’s office.

Second, when Deke sees the ghosts of the dead girls that draw him to help Baxter.

These were “trailer teaser” moments, in that they were written in as things to pique an audience’s interest during the trailer, but never really go anywhere in the film.

Did I want him to “see dead people”? No.

However, I was expecting some sort of twist with these little interactions that never paid off.

(Now, in the script, Deke does see the dead girls one last time while driving to find Baxter and Sparma, and they tell him, “It’s over.” This at least continues the trend that these ghosts haunt him.)

Then there’s the ending.

Must admit I saw that coming, but my concern here is that any relief Baxter might have is only temporary.

If/when another victim shows up, there goes any solace he had courtesy of Deke.

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