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Review: Deathnote (2017)

Director Adam Wingard’s take on Death Note (created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata) is an interesting one. Whilst there are many changes to the manga and anime source material I feel this is done to make the story more accessible to a mainstream audience. Think of this as Deathnote for beginners – if you like this you might go and investigate the source material in more detail. Even the anime took 37 episodes to get it all in. This instead reframes it yet keeps the main points in play. That being said I feel the way he handled L’s first press conference could of been a lot better and introduced the cat and mouse element of Light (Nat Wolff ) and L’s  (Lakeith Stanfield) relationship more effectively instead the dynamic tension between Light and L is traded in slightly for swearing, chases, and dramatic close ups.

Wingard’s directorial vision helps set the mood of the movie and does well to translate the material to an American environment but it does feel underwhelming. Casting aside all comparisons to previous versions leaves you with a film that is trying hard but almost feels like you are watching a highlight reel of the movie. The actors involved do deliver and are clearly committed to the project I just wish they had more they could get there teeth into. Also disappointing is how quickly Kira’s identity is revealed and how anticlimactic that actually is, when it should be a major turning point in the movie.

Verdict: 5/10. It is by no means as awful as others suggested, instead it has just been simplified to attract a more mainstream audience. If this is a success then the Deathnote franchise may gain more readers and viewers as a result. Perhaps a Director’s Cut with a few more scenes of exposition in might help push the rating up? Oh… and an ending would be nice…



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Founded Cult Faction in 2014; previously crawled out of the Black Lodge in 1976, only to find himself in the Village.

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