Death Note

"Weak"

Death Note Review


The subject of Death Note -- a supernatural notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it -- sounds interesting enough, but visually it can't be all that entertaining. A guy scribbles a name in a notebook; person with said name dies. Repeat. Thus, to keep the story suspenseful, the filmmakers would have to pay special attention to other elements in storytelling, such as creating tension, executing clever plot twists, and perhaps developing the characters (if they're feeling ambitious). Unfortunately, Death Note does none of that.

Based on the manga with the same title, Death Note centers on Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara), a top high school student who aspires to rid the world of evil by writing criminals' names in the Death Note. There are some rules to using this notebook: While writing the person's name, you must picture his or her face; if you don't specify the cause of death, the person dies of a heart attack by default; if you possess a Death Note, you'll be haunted by its original owner -- in Yagami's case, a pale reaper who resembles Marilyn Manson with wings. Internet fans have dubbed Yagami "Kira" -- derived from the word killer in Japanese. Police, of course, are eager to arrest Kira to put an end to these mass murders.

Sounds pretty cool, right? And you might think, "Good thing Death Note was made in Japan -- a country whose cinema is famous for some of the best horror flicks, such as The Ring and The Grudge." But you'd be wrong.

Rather than being a suspenseful, dark film, Death Note looks more like a Japanese music video. The colors are bright and jolly; Yagami looks and acts like a J-pop star; and L (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), the world's #1 detective trying to catch Yagami, is wearing far too much eye shadow to be taken seriously. The camera restlessly moves to and fro, following each character in the frame as if to say, "Hurry up! Let's get this moving!" But this isn't a film that should be rushed. It'd be better to let simmer.

The cat-and-mouse relationship between Yagami and L has the potential to be fascinating. Both characters are regarded as considerably intelligent -- and both are blindly trying to uncover one another's identity, very similar to the relationship between Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in The Departed (originally, Infernal Affairs). But Yagami's and L's ploys to trick one another seem rather half-baked. The film is only engaging in the sense that you might spend more time thinking, "Well, if I were in Yagami's shoes, a smarter way to trick L into thinking ____ would've been to do ____."

And if it's possible to not recommend a film based on one scene, it'd have to be the one in which Yagami and his girlfriend go on a date in the museum. A sappy Japanese song blares loudly in the background while the two contemplate making out right then and there. All joking aside, the scene looks like a chapter from a karaoke laser disc.

I suppose the film is engaging in another sense -- in thinking about what I'd do with a Death Note. I'd probably write my own name in the notebook while watching this movie.

Aka Desu nôto.



Death Note

Facts and Figures

Run time: 24 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 3rd October 2006

Box Office Worldwide: $27.8M

Budget: $20M

Production compaines: Warner Bros.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 9.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shusuke Kaneko

Producer: Seiji Okuda, Takahiro Sato, Toyoharu Fukuda

Starring: as Light Yagami, Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L, Sota Aoyama as Detective Matsuda, Asaka Seto as Naomi Misora, Shigeki Hosokawa as FBI Agent Ray, Erika Toda as Misa Amane, Shunji Fujimura as Watari, as Sayu Yagami, Takeshi Kaga as Soichiro Yagami

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.