Review: Netflix’s DEATH NOTE

by on September 19, 2017

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Netflix's Death Note, a streaming review

Right up front, I’m going to say that Netflix‘s Death Note has a slow start that gets a bit more tangible as the story goes. It’s not bad entertainment if you download it to your phone and watch it in segments on different days while on your commute via train or carpool.

The original Death Note, on Amazon.

With that said,

“A high school student discovers a supernatural notebook that has deadly powers. He can kill anyone he wishes simply by inscribing their name within its pages. Intoxicated with his new power, he begins to eliminate those he deems unworthy of life.”

The film is based off a successful Japanese manga title of the same name, but alas, what’s good in one venue isn’t always good in another, like so many video game to movie franchises.

The cast includes Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Paul Nakauchi, Jason Liles and Willem Dafoe as the demon himself.

If it weren’t for Dafoe, well, having him voice the demon was a nice touch.

This film starts out in the worse way ever. The opening scene shows a sudden rain cell burst and in the rain, a leatherbound book comes falling out of the sky to land almost in the lap of our young character star, named Light Turner.

We see him find the book, then get beat up by some bully and then having his conversation with the demon Ryuk. Ryuk convinces Light that he can make the world a better place by eliminating bad people.

So first, he uses the book to kill the bully. (He was a real ahole of a bully,) then he uses the book to kill the man who murdered his mother, but got away with it.

Light uses the book to entice this idiot girl who barely notices him but then when she sees the Death Note book, is all about him. Yea, I think Light is an idiot.

Together they go on a killing spree of sorts, but after killing nearly 400 evil people, despite the public enjoying how evil people are dying, law enforcement has to follow up and one rather clever detective, L, is figuring it out.

And the chase goes on from there.

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Most movies use the first act to draw you in, but the way this film opens, I was like WTF? It was a very underwhelming opening. But as the story continued, it started to get interesting around the middle of the second act, which is a long time for a film to get its legs under it.

But once it got interesting, it became the standard series of chases and curious events to help propel the story to its ending. Though, to be honest, the ending had a great little quirk to it. It was almost too complicated of a twist ending, but hey… if you’re bored out of your mind on a train, it was good for that. And I watched it in three sittings or sessions, so the lack of a good plot didn’t hit me quite as bad as if one might when sitting through the whole thing at once.

The film netted a whopping 4.6/10 on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes critics buttered it up with a 38% score. William Dafoe’s mannerisms and voice really gave the film some charm, if you can call a demon-charmed film a good film. (Well, not really)

To be honest, all these comic book/video game to movie franchises seem to suffer the fate of a dependency on the popularity of the original content and production companies just seem to not want to put the quality time or bucks into these things. I think if they did put some $$ into these kind of films, it would work. AKA, look at Marvel! But alas…

I think if you’re up late at night, can’t find anything to watch on your 100 cable or satellite provider channels, Death Note is worthy of a few beers, an excuse to eat some popcorn and enjoy some late-night watching with few or no expectations. Then you’ll like it.

Otherwise, don’t go out of your way to catch Death Note. I was already payng for Netflix, so I don’t mind having watched it. Like I said, it was the perfect commute companion.

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