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

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

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.