Like the junkies and ex-junkies it portrays, Little Fish spins its wheels, goes down side roads with dead ends, and only wakes up and gets its act together when it's almost too late. The film thinks it’s a slow-burning drama, and gives leg-stretching room to every character with a minor speaking role, but it eventually turns into a thriller by default, as bad judgment and limited options lead the main characters into making hard choices around men with guns. Director Rowan Woods wants to delay the thriller aspect for as long as possible, because he knows that he has something intriguing on his hands - having Cate Blanchett play a dim bulb - but the life of a dry heroin user is so painfully monochrome that Blanchett can do little to add color. The natural intelligence that the actress beams out almost like semaphore is also, in this film, a barrier for her to overcome. Scenes like the one where she stands and plays an arcade game risk breaking the audience up into giggles. What is Queen Elizabeth's high score on Donkey Kong?