Movie Review: Death Note (Desu Nôto) 2006

Death Note is one of those movies that you may well gloss over when browsing – I came across it by accident. It’s Japanese and is the live action version of the anime TV series of the same name. Japan has produced some wonderful movies over the years and there is a great deal of talent over there in the movie industry.

The basic plot revolves around Light Yagami finding a book that has supernatural powers. If a name is written in the book whilst picturing the face of that person then they will die as written or die of a heart attack if no manner of death is specified. Not only that but touching the book gives someone the power to see the Shinigami (God of Death) associated with that particular book. Light decides to make the world a better place by disposing of “evil” elements within the world.

It is one of those movies that can be enjoyed at a very superficial level but is far more interesting when looked at as a conflict between good and evil and how easily it is for those distinctions to become blurred. And how easy it is for good intentions to become perverted. It illustrates very eloquently that life is not black and white but a shade of grey. The plot revolves around the battle of wits between Light and L who both play their roles superbly.

Usually I prefer to watch a foreign movie in its original language with subtitles but I have to say that the English dubbed version of this movie is excellently done and still retains the essential “Japaneseness” of the original. The cast all do a really good job with their respective roles and you’ll enjoy not only the main plot but the sub plot of the interplay between Light and Ryuuk (the Shinigami).

The movie is directed by Shusuke Kaneko and stars:

Tatsuya Fujiwara – Light Yagami
Ken’ichi Matsuyama – L
Asaka Seto – Naomi Misora
Shigeki Hosokawa – FBI Agent Ray
Erika Toda – Misa Amane
Shunji Fujimura – Watari
Takeshi Kaga – Souichiro Yagami
Yu Kashii – Shiori Kashino
Shido Nakamura – Ryuuk (Shinigami voice)

This is a movie that will definitely be taking its place in my personal collection and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get it. You will not regret it.

Rating: 9/10

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