Death Note is live action American remake of an anime, which as of the writing of this review, I have not seen or read the manga. It is directed by Adam Wingard and stars William Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Paul Nakauchi, Jason Liles, etc. It is a psychological thriller that has many messages, but they seem to get muddled during the show.
Light Turner is a bright, but bored high school student who makes money by helping his peers cheat on their homework. Before he and a girl named Mia try to intervene on behalf of a student being bullied, he finds a book labeled ‘Death Note.’ Soon after, a demon named Ryuk arrives and instructs him on how to use it. His first kill is the bully from earlier and later, the man who murdered his mother.
He decides to tell Mia and the two of them become Kira, a vigilante using the book to cause the deaths of hundreds of terrorists, drug lords, and criminals. Light and Mia’s activities attract the attention of Agent L, a mysterious independent investigator. He recruits Light’s dad, a Seattle detective into his task force to stop Kira who L believes is operating out of Washington state. Mia wants to stop the investigations through the agent’s deaths, but Light wants to draw the line at innocent lives. Soon the strain starts to affect how they use the book.
The message of Death Note is simple: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Wait, is it the ends justify the means? Maybe it is that humans should play God, or not. Maybe not as simple as you thought. The poorly developed characters do not help clarify the ideals it suggests. Light is sometimes unlikable, but other times not. You are not sure whether to root for him or hope that Ryuk destroys him. The only character worth cheering on is Light’s father Detective Turner.
As for the overall film, it was unnecessarily gory, often melodramatic, and at times, I felt as though the film was rushed and patched together.
That being said, I did find the acting, setting, and concept interesting. Willem Dafoe and Jason Liles do a perfect tag-team as Ryuk. He is creepy, manipulative, and perfectly believable as the demonic force being the Death Note. The performance definitely shows that you should never shake hands with the devil.
FAVORITE QUOTE: Humans are so… interesting.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language, gore, violence
Be sure to like and share! Don’t forget to subscribe for more entertainment and pop culture articles like this one! Also, check out my review of the graphic novel X-Men Schism.
If you would like to order your paperback copy of my debut novel Cacophony: A Tale Of Faith And Fear, click here. It is an incredible paranormal thriller about a group of demons trying to steal human souls by assaulting their church. The Messenger Gabriel, a Guardian angel Christopher, and the Seven Archangels are sent by God to stop them. It’s a tale that mixes drama, supernatural fiction, with a dash of fantasy.
Consider supporting me and my creative efforts on Patreon. It is because of your generosity that writers, bloggers, creators, and vloggers like me can continue to be creative.