April 30th, 2008 | → 3 Comments | ∇ Films |
Death Note is a live action film based on the manga comic series of the same name. Created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata, Death Note progressed from comic to a long running manga TV series and finally to the big screen in 2006.
The story of Death Note concerns a young and extremely bright law student Light Yagami who, disheartened by a flawed and unjust legal system, turns his back on his dreams of being a successful lawyer. Light then stumbles upon the Death Note, a mysterious black leather book which quite literally drops from out of the sky. Written inside the book, in both English and Japanese, are a very handy set of instructions sbout how to make use of the Death Note:
- The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
- This note will not take effect unless the writer has the subject’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
- If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the subject’s name, it will happen.
- If the cause of death is not specified, the subject will simply die of a heart attack.
- After writing the cause of death, the details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds (400 seconds).
The film then leads us through Light’s discovery that the book can be used to kill whoever’s name is written on its pages in a series of amusing deaths including a tense yet funny encounter with a local gang of bullies. Joyed at his new discover out (anti)hero Light begins enforcing his own method of justice by distributing heart attacks to hundreds of criminals on a global scale.
These seemingly random killings are embraced by the general public who nickname this unknown killer guardian angel as Kira. Lights killing spree continues as he learns more about the Death Note and experiments within the rules set out in the book. This obviously attracts the unwanted attention of the police and also of the world’s greatest detective, the mysterious L. A battle of wits then follows between the ever cunning Light and his rival L.
Death Note is quite a slow film in places and could probably have been made shorter than its 126 minute running time. That being said if they could have swapped the slow scenes for more deaths I could have happily sat and watched it for hours.
A somewhat under used and under scary part of the film is the Light’s CGI companion Ryuk. Ryuk is a shinigami (Death God) who only those that touch the Death Note can see. The computer animation isn’t bad but the character of Ryuk seems to float around in a lifeless way acting as the moral consious of an increasingly disturbed and vengeful Light. Not my idea of how a god of death should act.
I love films with far out concepts and this one ticks all the boxes for a completely bonkers idea. The hero gradually becomes more and more skilled in killing to cover his tracks with increasingly ellaborate and cunning murders, while we also get to see the genius of L’s mind as he tracks down Light. These 2 characters are both very intelligent and their rivalry becomes a personal battle of wits culminating in a stand off at the end of the film which just leaves you begging for the sequel.
A well deserved 8/10. Definately worth a watch.