DEATH NOTE isn’t very good. That’s not to say the premise isn’t clever, or the original Japanese source material not worth your attention, but Adam Wingard’s American film adaptation agonisingly squanders potential at every turn. This upsets me, because I usually like Wingard’s work. The characters are all detestable, the actors’ performances jarringly strange (and I’m not even talking about the murder demon voiced by Willem Dafoe) and the plotting makes it feels like you’re turning over at least two script pages at a time. Even the more fun and out-there elements (orphans trained to be super-detectives, the power to kill anyone in any way with a thought) that could have made this a cult curiosity are presented completely straight-faced and without any self-awareness. The film admittedly looks good, with time and care taken with lighting, cinematography and special effects, but you just can’t care about what happens to anyone in this story. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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