I watched the Netflix adaptation of Death Note the other day, and I enjoyed it, but then again I hadn’t followed the manga of the same name, so I had no expectations. Plus, it features Margaret Qualley, who reminds me of a 24-year-old Supergirl in the looks department, and that never hurts if you want a good review from me.
The premise is fairly simple: A high school geek has a run-in with the intellectually challenged school bully and gets knocked on his ass. Then a magic book falls out of the sky (I know, right?). Inside the book are a bunch of rules that spell out how to use the book to invoke a demon/death god named Ryuk (Reeeeee Ok as Willem Defoe–who does the demon/death god’s voice–points out) to kill the person whose name you write in the book, and in the manner you specify. You may have guessed this already, but the dumbass bully gets the axe in a gruesome way. Then Margaret Qualley cast as Mia and Nat Wolff who plays Light, bond over the experience and fall in love. From there film takes a momentary stumble, and we learn things like: you can control the person who’s going die for up to 48 hours before they die. Oh, and Light’s dad is a cop. Light and Mia decide to kill random bad guys and create a cult/godlike figure called Kiro to take the blame. Enter the weird, ninja-like trained-from-birth-to-be-an-insane-candy-guzzling super-sleuth, and his Japanese sidekick. It got predictable from there, but it still had someone in it that reminds me of Supergirl, so I watched it to the end.
Look, this isn’t a must-see. It’s not even a should-see, really, but as a might-as-well-see, it works. For the main part, the film falls down on with the confused, stuttering script, not on the direction or the performances of the cast (which were quite good, IMO). It is an enjoyable film, despite its failings, unless, I guess, you are a Desu Noto manga fan. Another ding: not much horror, really. I mean Ryuk is freaky looking, and Willem Dafoe gives him a creepy voice, but he just doesn’t do scary things…and we are distanced from most of the death–we only see the aftermath. In the end, though, that’s all good because it leaves more screen time for Margaret Qualley.
Is it worth seeing? Sure! I mean, at least you will know what to expect when a demon/death god drops a book out of the sky at your feet.
Plus, there are an extra 67 points awarded to the creator of Ryuk.