Sunday, May 25, 2008
Death Note: The Movie
When I picked up Death Note and its sequel Death Note: The Last Name, I thought it was yet another made-for-movies pseudo-anime treatment of a popular fad. Boy was I glad to be proven wrong. Death Note is an intelligent psycho-thriller that'll take you on a roller-coaster train ride that YOU KNOW is gonna be a fabulous wreck at the end.
The story follows Light Yagami, a bright young cadet with a strong sense of justice. As we later on learn, justice is pretty ambiguous, and really quite relative. Disillusioned at the fact that criminals are free to walk without paying for their crimes, his life is turned upside down when a bored Grim Reaper gives him the power to take away life with the use of a Death Note. Soon the audience begins to wonder whose side their on. Light, whose brand of justice deals death to whoever is labeled a criminal, or the enigmatic detective L, hidden in the shadows who has passed judgment on Light as even worse of a murderer than those he punishes. The story is a winner in that the subject matter truly is a worthy topic to debate on.
Two things work against the movie though, both of which however, can be viewed necessary. The first is that the Grim Reapers Ryuk and Rem are done in complete CGI, designed nearly identical to their anime and manga versions. To those who don't dig CGI characters, it can take a lot away from the film. But if you can get past the designs, the characterizations are pretty much done well. The second problem is that the movie is rather long. The second film is more obviously lengthened. Of course the fact that Death Note is several volumes long is the reason. There's only so much you can remove to try to still keep the film intact.
Watch these movie on a weekend afternoon when you got nothing to do. These movies have enough twists to keep you on your toes. Gore is kept to a minimum thank goodness. It's not so much an emo flick as it is a brilliant psy-war tale. Highly recommended.
Read all about Death Note at wikipedia. But try not to read too much. You wouldn't want to get spoiled.
Wikipedia article on Death Note
Here's the trailer.