Death Note (2017)

dir. Adam Wingard

Death Note is based on the anime, but it feels absolutely nothing like it. Light Turner finds himself in possession of the mysterious Death Note (why it seemingly dropped to him from the sky is never explained), and discovers that writing a person’s name in it means he can kill them. Oh, but he has to imagine their face while doing it. And it doesn’t work if the page is ripped out and burned. But doing that only works once. There are so many convoluted rules – the metaphysics of it all work much better in the anime where there’s more time to breathe, but in a 100-minute film it feels much more like it’s being made up as they go along. The characters themselves are thoroughly detestable, with Light’s love interest practically getting off to the power of murdering whoever she wants. Throw in Willem Dafoe’s sneering spiky demon and Lakeith Stanfield’s parkour-happy detective, and Death Note barely holds together as film.

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