Shūsuke Kaneko’s Death Note, the first in a two part Japanese series based on the popular manga of the same name, is a high concept thriller set in Tokyo, in which protagonist Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) discovers a mysterious notebook that has the power to kill any human whose name is written inside it. Taking it upon himself to rid the world of criminals and evil-doers, Light’s own morality increasingly comes under question. The police, struggling to understand their new nemesis, enlist the help of unorthodox detective L, whose battle of wits with Light steadily escalates.
Accompanied by his bizarre companion Ryuk (a CGI death god; see picture above), Light’s adventure often hints at genuine intrigue but struggles with its lumbering pace and occasionally clunky dialogue (some of which, admittedly, may have been damaged in translation). An interesting concept is unfortunately squandered in a film that never manages to sustain a genuine sense of darkness or suspense.
Film: ★★★★★ Extras: ★★★★★