Director – Adam Wingard
High school outcast Light Turner has trouble coping after the murder of his mother. One day a supernatural book falls to him out of the sky accompanied by a death God name Ryuk who names Light the owner of the book and its capabilities. If Light writes down the first and last name of any person and imagines their face they will die by the way of his choice. Light initially uses the powers of the book to kill the guy who murdered his mother. Instantaneously he became hooked by his new-found power and with the help of his girlfriend Mia decides to utilize it to make his own new religion Kira that decides the fate of wrongdoers throughout the world. As Kira’s following starts to grow many wonder how to stop the killings and is now being traced by Lights own father who is a police officer and a justice detective who goes by the name L.
“Your asleep and you’re dreaming of some 8 foot tall demon motherfucker”
“Gun is only as good as their aim I make sure people can trust their aim”
“Cops hate it when you go after other cops but don’t like it when you go after their God”
“You’re the one who flew into the sun I’m just making sure you actually burn”
- Over dramatic slow motion opening
- Knock out scene
- Random accident style deaths
- Fast zoom pan transitions
- 80’s vibe with classic high school scenes, songs and old fashioned telephone
- L insanely driving police car and chasing Light around town
(Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, William Dafoe)
Stylistically this film is fine It is the performances and interactions between characters which bring this film down. I thought this film did a great job of putting Light in a situation where you were rooting for him and emphasized with his character it was just he was way to unstable and the high-pitched screaming was annoying. They made “L” way too odd and great actor and veteran Wiliam Dafoe look plain silly as Ryuk not being able to take either character seriously.
While Light and Mia are on a Ferris Wheel, Mia reveals she stole the book and wrote his name in it. She also reveals that she framed “L” for the murders of several agents and wants him to transfer ownership of the book and its powers to her. Light then tells Mia he wrote her name in the book but her death is only caused if she attempted to steal it. Ryuk causes the Ferris Wheel to collapse causing Mia to fall to hear death and Light and his page falling into water.
Adapting popular anime into american films has become more popular as of late. Earlier this year Ghost In A Shell had a successful release but I was not impressed with Death Note. I never seen the anime so this is all I have to go off of but efforts such as this don’t do the original versions justice and apparently seem to piss off anime purists. There were some interesting themes here such as religion and the relationship between God and death. I actually liked the biting from the forbidden apple reference. Also the death of Light’s mom and him wanting to avenge and bring justice to crime doers who got off was good at bringing sympathy to the character and putting the protagonist in situations you wanted him to succeed. It’s just the execution of all of this horrible. I really do think this film tried hard but may have tried too hard and never really settled on a genre. At times the film tried to be bad ass but the writing was cringe worthy especially the dialogue between characters prevented it from happening. The ending was pretty cool and thought out in the context of the overall story and left the door open for sequels. Death Note relies on a popular Japanese series for attractive plot points but overall not amusing and fails to turn a new page.
Any thoughts on Death Note or the write up? Please like comment and follow.