Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: DEATH NOTE (2017) (Netflix American Version)

Yeah, so I know about DEATH NOTE, but I don’t know much about Death Note, if you get my drift, so I don’t know if my review is very valid. I know it is a manga series and a very beloved 2006 Japanese live action thriller, but I have never read the series, nor seen the original film. I just know that it was controversial in that it basically white washed it for the American Version and that they guy that did You’re Next, The Guest and the recent reboot of Blair Witch did it, so I decided to give it a go and check it out. I also know that it starred Willem Dafoe for motion capturing and voice Ryuk, and that guy from Fault of Our Stars/Paper Towns/Home Again played the main character and the older girl from The Nice Guys plays his girlfriend. What was my ultimate opinion? Eh.

It was okay, not having seen or read any of the other original stuff. I bet if I was caught up with all of that I probably would have hated this version though, like I have heard from so many others. The plot if you don’t know, deals with a kid that inherits a book that when you write the name of someone and think of their face while writing it in the book, they will die. You can also write how they die and shit and that shit will happen to them as you write it. There are other rules for the book as well, but it is too much to get into. Just know that when I was hearing all these rules, I knew that a bunch of them together would bring out some kind of Rube Goldberg twist ending, and I was correct in my assumption.

Some of the kills (mainly the first decapitation) are pretty early and graphic and cool. And the main way that Light Turner tries to use the book in a semi-decent way was a good idea. I just thought that narratively everything was too quick and it didn’t come together that well, especially in a mere 100 minutes. I think the movie might’ve been more fleshed out if it were 30 minutes longer. The movie also ends really abruptly, which I thought was kind of weird and also kind of a cheat. The acting is good all around, especially with Dafoe’s work and Margaret Qualley, Nat Wolff, Shea Wingham, and especially the guy that plays L, who is a detective on the trail of Light Turner. (who was one of those unfortunate people in the movie GET OUT). It’s just that there was really no fleshing out of any character motivations, development, and everything was rushed to all hell. It felt like I was watching a short film.

But I’m sure if I read the manga or saw the original Japanese live action films I would love the series and give this American version the finger. All I can say about not having seen anything else and just this American version is that you could do better things with your time, but it might make a decent background watch.

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