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THE NL - Death Note

Author: Geoff Larsen
Monday, 25 February 2008


It is very likely Death Note will appeal to Australian audiences, provided they give it go. The two films revolve around the curiously named (and disturbingly effeminate) Light Yagami who happens upon a journal that claims it will kill anyone whose name is written inside it. Angry at all the Japanese correctional system for not giving prisoners the punishment they deserve, Light decides to take justice into his own hand and becomes judge, jury and executioner. Joining Light on his quest is a demonic trickster named Ryuk and L: an enigmatic genius who attempts to stop Light’s rampage by any means necessary. Both movies play out as a chess game between the characters Light and L, with each character trying to predict the others movements in order to get what they want. While this provides for a rollercoaster ride with dozens of unexpected twists and turns, the sheer unlikelihood of some of the predictions makes the writing feel a little contrived. In the first movie particularly it seems as if the writers were inventing rules for the Death Note as they went along. On top of that there are a few plot holes and inconsistencies that a discerning eye will be able to spot, but as long as you are able to suspend your disbelief both movies should be quite enjoyable. The characters of L and Ryuk are extremely well fleshed out with personal eccentricities and twitches. Both supporting characters have become icons in the East and have their own line of accessories and figurines. All in all Death Note is an enjoyable romp that will stay with you long after the credits roll. While we have seen similar concepts over here in the west, who wouldn’t want absolute control over life and death- Gangsters about to rob you blind- Just jot down a few of their names. Ex-girlfriend won’t leave you be- A quick entry and she’ll never bother you again. People complaining that you leave the toilet seat up- You know what to do.
The Death Note series may not be the best movie to come out of Asia (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance holds that title) it certainly is one of the better ones and while it may not achieve the legendary status here that it has overseas it certainly will be enjoyed by whoever watches it.