Review: Death Note


Title: Death Note
MPAA Rating: TV-MAAll Posts
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Nat WolffLakeith StanfieldMargaret Qualley
Runtime: 1 hr 41 mins

What It Is:
Death Note is the Netflix adaption of the popular Japanese manga. Set in Seattle, Light Turner finds a mysterious notebook, which he learns has the power to kill anybody who’s name is written in it. At first, he uses it to kill people that he doesn’t like and he soon shows the mysterious notebook to a fellow classmate, Mia. Light and Mia decide to use the notebook to kill criminals, but soon attract the attention of L, a detective who is determined to put a stop to this power.

What We Think: Death Note has very good ideas, owed to the source material, but the film is poorly executed. It’s too short and incredibly rushed. This means there is not much character development. In addition, the things that made the original manga so great and so compelling are left out of the film, resulting in an adaptation that is boring and uninspired. Nat Wolff was not a good choice to portray Light; his performance was horrible, and his character was not likeable, nor was he someone I could root for. He came across as annoying and had no real motivation besides the death of his mom to make him use the book. Mia was even more annoying. She had no character development, meaning that her supposed motivation came off as that she wanted to help Light murder people because she was a moody teenager. Both of them commit murders throughout the film in very gruesome ways, but act like killing people isn’t a big deal. This is all the result of, again, a rushed story. Willem Dafoe was actually great as Ryuk, definitely the highlight of Death Note, and the cinematography and score weren’t bad either.

Our Grade: D+, Death Note had the potential to be amazing; just look at the manga it is based on. Unfortunately, the film has a laughable script, annoying characters, and the short runtime prevents it from telling the great story the manga had. Skip this empty adaptation. It is not worth your time.

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