Review by CJ
Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley
Other notable appearances:
Watch this if you liked:
Donnie Darko, The Crow
Light (Wolff) finds a journal that unites him with a death god named Ryuk (Dafoe) who will kill anyone whose name and method of death Light writes in the book. When Light starts to use the journal to kill anyone he deems to be evil, he quickly discovers that being a vigilante isn’t as easy as the comic books make it seem.
Okay. So. I hadn’t seen or heard of the manga or anime on which Death Note is based. I did, however, receive a very cool email advertising that the film would be streaming soon. Light was in the foreground while Ryuk hovered in the background. I had no idea what was going on, but I was very excited.
Unfortunately, the email promoting the film was the most exciting part of Death Note.
I mean, it wasn’t a terrible film. The premise is very fun and has definitely made me want to check out the anime. Dafoe’s performance of Ryuk is fantastic and the character’s design is very effective. I also thoroughly enjoyed Stanfield’s portrayal of the eccentric “L”.
As for everything else … the pacing is off, the rest of the acting is average at best, the dialogue is tacky and often forced, and most of the production feels like a cheesy made for TV movie or 90s TV show.
Death Note has taken what is a great idea and left it half-made. The scenes with Ryuk are the most entertaining while the rest drag to an unsatisfying ending. Overall, a rather disappointing film experience with too few nuggets of gold.
“It’s like you said. Sometimes you gotta choose the lesser of the two evils.”