Review of 'Death Note (Desu Nôto)'

death_note.jpg Death Note tells the story of a young man (Light Yagami) who comes across a notebook dropped by the Angel of Death - A creature only visible to our “hero”. The notebook is magical in that any person's name written into it will die (along with a number of increasingly complicated conditions). The beginning of the movie sees light using the book to provide “justice” by ridding the world of a number of “bad people” but quickly things get out of hand (as you may expect). The police see that a number of criminals dropping dead of suspicious heart attacks is a pattern so bring in the super-sleuth “L” to track down the vigilante taking the law into their own hands. Time is running out for Light.

The obvious moral of this story is the idea that power corrupts but other than the continuing threat of discovery by the police, Light (largely) escapes any repercussions which sort of defeats this supposed “morality tale”. I can see that it would be appealing to a younger audience but it left me a bit cold. Light appears to have very few second-thoughts about the behaviour is appears to quickly fall into – Mass murder. This seems more than a bit unbelievable. This issue coupled with the long running time I am not sure how much, outside of the fan base established by the Japanese comics, this movie will appeal to a wider audience.

The acting is not all that bad and the special effects (particularly the CGI of the “Angel of Death”) are also quite good. I found the story quite interesting but the movie is a bit long with not a lot of surprises.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2008-05-05

Directed by: Shusuke Kaneko

Studio: Death Note Film Partners

Year: 2008

Length: 126 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction