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Reviews & Ratings for
Death Note More at IMDbPro »Desu nôto (original title)

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Mind blowing anime - Excellent to start with

Author: Minhal Hussain
15 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Has to be one of the best animes I've ever watched, this has it all, the thrill the action, the romance and the rivalry. Its outstanding anime.

The rivalry between L and Kira is one of the best thing about it, it captures your attention from the very first episode and keeps it till the end, something that many animes fail to do but this one has you excited from the very start to end. The anime does lose its touch a bit after L dies and Nello and Mello come into the picture as L was an extremely central part of the story and it isn't quite the same without him but letting Kira be victorious would have made a bad plot line if L was given complete victory it wouldn't have been right. So its a pretty good ending as well.

Overall excellent anime 9.5 out of ten, keeps your interest all the way through and its fairly short a very good anime to start with if you've never watched any.

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So you're though with the anime? Wanna see something different? Then this film is for you...

Author: mystery_guy-1 from Philippines
25 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you're expecting that this film will be exactly like the anime and manga, Then you're wrong. If you're one of those persons who always gives a damn about something that isn't the same about its book or manga, even though they made it better, then don't watch this film. This film doesn't exactly follow the anime or the manga. Some scenes were different but the dark aura that many of us, Death note fans, still remains. One of the major kickass scene in this film is Light has a girlfriend, that he's confused whether he loves her or not, other than Misa and Takada which he definitely doesn't love, but completely used and killed her to enter L's investigation team. How bad-ass is that? Plus, they replace the tennis match, which IMO doesn't really fit Death, with a chess match, although it isn't long enough. And the one who plays L's character, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, plays it pretty well. But the one who plays Kira, Tatsuya Fujiwara, IMO is disappointing. Doesn't really look like him. Plus that backshot basketball thing he did in the beginning doesn't sell very much. Ryuk's CGI? I'll give it 6.5/10. So what? He also looks like a dummy even in the world of anime.

Overall, Not perfect but definitely recommended for the Death Note fans.

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Yeah, I have to say if I had that notebook I would be way to tempted to use it.

Author: Aaron1375
4 May 2010

I had heard about the anime, but have never seen it. I have always wanted to watch it, but it is always so hard sometimes to buy all the volumes and as with most anime shows you really have to see all the episodes in order to get what is going on. So when my girlfriend bought the live action movie I thought why not give it a try? I was not to disappointed with it as it was a rather interesting movie. The story has a mysterious notebook falling in the hands of a college student named Light. What makes it so special you ask? Well, whoever's name is written in this particular notebook will die, whether by a heart attack forty seconds after having their name written in the book or by means left up to the writer of the name. There is more to it than that as there are a bunch of rules as to what you have to do. Well Light at first seems to want to do good with the book by killing those who have escaped justice. Then he takes it further, taking out those accused, but not convicted of crimes and even killing those convicted and behind bars. The public dub him Kira and Kira quickly becomes a wanted man if he exists at all. Well a mysterious detective known as L proves he exists and quickly finds the location of this man who can kill while being no where near the individual. Very interesting film, I started sort of pulling for Light, but by the end I was feeling a very strong dislike for this character. Meanwhile, my respect for the mysterious L skyrocketed as he was able to use very clever tactics to pinpoint the location where Kira was hiding. There are also bizarre apple loving gods of death in the film too, but he is not really on the side of Light, though he is sort of bound to him as he is just enjoying the show. The main problem I had with the movie is that Light changed so much during the course of the film. He went from someone who seemed to have noble ideals, to someone who would do anything to keep himself safe. My girlfriend though told me in the anime he was a bit more crazy seeming right from the get go. Still, overall this film was very interesting, I know there is an American version coming at some point, and I just know chances are it will suck. This one though was very interesting to watch. Loved the end with L and Light meeting for the first time setting up part two which I have not seen yet.

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Playing the role of God; as the pen is rendered mightier than the sword and just about everyone, and everything, else.

Author: johnnyboyz from Hampshire, England
19 February 2010

In its general aura and the manner in which it shifts into gear later on, Death Note plays out like a child-infused; science fiction-horror hybrid of Michael Mann's 1995 crime film Heat, only with two youngsters at the very core of the text eventually coming to engage in a battle of wits and power play. It's a game that will see the nation of Japan, indeed the world, either freed from the chaos, terror and 'justice' one party inflicts upon it or to remain in that iron grip of fear that'll see death seemingly dished out at random. In bringing to life what was a Japanese comic, director Shusuke Kaneko has taken a source material with a pretty nifty USP, and adapted it for the screen in an interesting piece looking at the spiteful and hate-filled lust for power; the 'proper' and 'improper' use of great intelligence and power as well as an interesting spin on the vigilante sub-genre.

The film initially centres solely around a young man named Light Yagami (Fujiwara), a somewhat down on his luck, but thoroughly intelligent, male living in the metropolis that is contemporary Japan. It is he that stumbles across a book that can change the life of they whom hold it, but can end the lives of those whose names are jotted down within. When the note book of the title lands from the sky, it immediately carries that uncanny sense in that it lands in a puddle of water following some rain but dries the immediate ground around it. That, and the fact it's in English. Aided by a hunched computer generated character named Ryuuk (Nakamura), a sort of death figure whose a visual blend of your more typical cloaked reaper character with someone who looks like they own a Harley-Davidson chopper, Light goes about his daily grind with the added ability to kill people at the swift jotting down of a name and a picturing of their face. This very basic and somewhat relatable introduction to an everyday, middle of the road, 'dorky' but perhaps rather likable character in Light is an interesting ploy. In giving Light all the necessary build up as this downtrodden youngster living in the hustling; bustling; technologically advanced and exciting nation that is Japan, the likes of which, without passing judgement, the original text may very well be aimed at in terms of age; Death Note systematically gives us what we perceive as an everyday protagonist of whom ticks all the right boxes.

The film gives Light time to contemplate the moral implications of writing down someone's name in the book, the film allowing a very natural course to be taken when paying attention to how you can kill people when it transpires writing down a chain of events prior to the death, as long as it results in a death, will become a reality. Initially, Light picks on those of a somewhat sordid ilk; the likes of corrupt politicians while later on, armed robbers. This initial murdering of people of an immoral type not only informs us that he's capable of using the book to murder, but due to the number of people he sends to their maker, our initial image or perception of him will take a gradual transformation as he appears to revel in the power. This, as we're forced to observe the near-obscene number of heart attacks these people suffer.

The ultimate irony of Light's coming into contact with this death note book is linked to the fact that he is, at least in his father's eyes, heir to the throne as chief of police – a role his father already occupies. Light's killing off of individuals through the book is an early ability to predetermine the fates of those he deems unworthy to inhabit the community; indeed the country, indeed the world. Light's habit of killing off criminals and those that it would be easy to label of a dishonest and immoral nature sees him take on a certain celebrity status amongst the Japanese people, adopting the nickname 'Kira', born out of anonymity. It's here the film loosely taps into the media's portrayal, as well as the public's natural reaction, of someone of an inglorious nature. Take a reality television show, for instance, in which absurd tasks and absurd relations with other absurd people are undertaken for means of riches and a hopeful celebrity status at the end of it all.

If the film has waved its magic and we find ourselves drawing away from Light as his indulgence in power takes over; his relationships with others around him are consumed by something menacing; the very arc of his life begins to change and his insistence on cruelly branching out the murders into those of a law abiding nature try to stop him, then it'll be because of that as well as a law enforcing genius named 'L' (Matsuyama) arrives on the scene. Interestingly, L is another younger male, one that initially comes across to be a bit of a layabout; indulging himself in junk food and spending plenty of time in front of screens and electrical equipment of some kind. In a world in which a bog-standard adult run police force plus elderly corrupt politicians exist, it is funny that the two characters whom seemingly possess the most power and intelligence are the two people that come across as young and as hapless in their appearance as they do. But that was probably all apart of the original graphic novel's appeal, that empowerment the 'child' characters appear to have over the 'adult' characters. The film's gradual taking of Light from bog standard protagonist archetype to enemy of the piece is rather enthralling, but the duelling that goes on between himself and L is interesting one-upmanship. Don't let the fact it's a lowly certified, adaptation of a Japanese comic about fantastical ideas put you off; for Death Note worked a lot better than I expected it to.

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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Nuke

Author: Derek Carpet from United Kingdom
30 November 2009

Death Note is a delightful wee Chinese film based an on old Chinese proverb: 'Thou dost not need to see thine enemy to strike him down'. This was turned into a play hundreds of years ago by Chinaland's version of Shakespeare, Confuseus. He was a philosophist and moraliser who I studied for many years at University. His play was all about whether Man has the right to play God and raises the idea than when Man is given the power of God he in fact becomes Satan. A boy from a local village finds a magic scroll dropped by a pile of pixies and when he lifts it he becomes their ruler. Rather than grant him wishes they say that they have the power to punish kill anyone he wants them to, if only he writes their name in the scroll. As the boy is from a poor family, and is frequently bullied he decides that this could be the key to his revenge and make his family some well deserved money. His mother may or may not have been sick. He starts by telling the pixies to attack his bullies, giving them wedgies and pushing them out of their junks etc. Regrettably in a fit of rage he wishes the lead bully was dead, so the pixies pull his head off. After a taste of this power the boy goes on a personal crusade, killing those he thinks are evil, and hurting all those he loved. It's pretty good for a play, but it needed some zombies or something to truly make it a classic.

Fast forward 2 thousand years and we finally have a movie based on the thing. The boy is no longer poor, but played by the survivor from Battle Royal. He is the son of the President of China, and is cute, popular, and a genius. Also modern audiences wouldn't believe in a bunch of pixies so they updated it to a giant elf. The boy is all set up to go to University and be a successful whatever, but he is sick of the amount of crime and treachery he sees everywhere: murderers back on the streets on two years; thieves and bullies roaming the streets making everyone scared to leave their houses; politicians robbing the people of their wages and rights; celebrities hugging fame and acting superior to everyone else. He magically gets hold of the scroll- updated to a funk file-o-fax and decides to wreak some justice. Soon his avenging angel persona becomes a celebrity like Miley Ray Cyrax and the people are divided in their support for him. He has the power to kill anyone in the world at will, and is safe from harm as no-one knows who is responsible. That is until ultra weirdo El comes along, sucking a lollipop. He is some sort of mega genius who is able to make gigantic logical leaps to work out that the killer lives right in their own very city. He is a heartthrob; a skinny little goth clad emo goth with cool hair who is so charismatic that he is able to control the entire Chinese police force just by eating a marshmallow funny. Soon a battle of wits begins- one trying to prove the other is a killer, the other trying to kill one before he works out the truth- this means much excitements! Throw into the mix a sexy girlfriend, some AMAZING graphics, and some apple related humour and we have possibly the only good foreign film ever made of all time.

Best Scene: When the boy kills one of his teachers at home in front of the TV. It gives a terrifying insight into how the elf kills his victims; the teacher switches on his TV but finds only one channel- a sepia tinged forest with a well in the middle. He sees the elf climbing slowly out of it, and crawling towards the camera. He watches with sickness, with a growing unease (like when you're on the toilet trying to finish as a spider comes under the door and crawls towards you) by utterly transfixed. The elf gets to the camera… and crawls OUT of the TV!!! The teacher screams like one of his pupils when he announces a surprise maths exam and the elf gets him.

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Much, much, MUCH worse than a sick-note.

Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
18 November 2009

Death Gods. They're all around. Sort of. Flying around. With the power of life and death in their hands. Well, in their notebooks.

When one such notebook is dropped and picked up by Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara) he soon realises that he has the power to kill those undeserving of life. By writing their names into the notebook he causes his chosen victims to have heart attacks. What's more, he can manipulate events to specify a variety of causes of death. With this power at his fingertips, Light beings to right many wrongs and deliver a permanent kind of justice to those who have managed to slip through the system or manipulate the legalities supposed to protect people. But as his work becomes more noticeable things become trickier as his father (a policeman) is tasked to a team, under the leadership of the mysterious L (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), given the unenviable duty of bringing the killer, known to everyone as Kira, to justice.

This movie, based on a popular (I believe) manga concept, is anything but dull. After an impressive, deftly-sketched opening sequence we get into the introduction of characters, the unfolding plot and, yes, the complexities that come with the ideas explored. Because, despite its veneer of almost comic-book sensibility, Death Note is a very good, intelligent mediation on concepts such as behaviour, free will and absolute power.

While many of the supporting actors/characters are well worth their screen time and make an impression the movie is still basically a two-hander between the intelligent, slippery Light and the intelligent, sweet-devouring L. And there's always the CG representation of Death God Ryuuk offering some words of non-wisdom too. He may not be the best rendered character ever seen on screen but it still somehow works within the framework of the movie. Fukiwara is fantastic as Light, likable and yet very much an anti-hero in many ways, while Matsuyama certainly matches him as the designated foe, it's like watching Sherlock Holmes battle wits with his brother, Mycroft. Immensely entertaining.

Director Shusuke Kaneko balances everything perfectly with a great mix of interaction, tense death scenes, moral dilemmas and the classic good vs evil battle at the heart of everything, although it's more of a grey area in this movie than it often is elsewhere. I highly recommend this to fans of unique, enjoyable, FUN movies with enough intelligence and twists to show that it's been constructed with at least some care. Enjoy.

See this if you like: Volcano High, Spy Game, The Departed.

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Surprisingly clever

Author: Alexander Schulz from Berlin, Germany
17 November 2009

At first glance, this looks like one of those cheap "The Ring"-copies because the premise is similar: Some kind of tool (the video in The Ring, the mobile phone in One missed call, the death note here) is used to condemn someone to death after a fixed amount of time. This death mechanism follows certain rules that can be used or abused. The setting is your ordinary teen/student universe. But I have to say that this was a very interesting variant of that structure. I can't say that it was a very scary movie, but it was clever, consistent within its own logic. The characters were interesting though I think that L deserved even more exposure because it takes a while until we finally get to see him/her/it. Thankfully it's not cheesy and only about 5 minutes too long I'd say (most Asian movies drag out the story even more). Now, some people say the manga is better which makes me almost sad that I have seen the real action movie before, but if that's true, the manga has to be really brilliant, because the movie is well worth it.

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Fabulous film down to the very last drop of tear

Author: industarz from United States
2 November 2009

This film, if watched with an open heart and mind and a moderate understanding of the unique style and flare of the Japanese, will bring you into a world of fine film and acting. I had nothing but a portion of a clip of the movie to motivate me to watch this from beginning to the end - and still with some imperfections, I found this to be one of the best movies I've ever seen. This because, I could find myself following the characters along, investing myself, attaching myself, loving them and rooting for them - right or wrong, good or evil. I was so impressed at the lack of Hollywood star steaks, that I found myself pondering and wondering. Now, I must go backwards and watch the series, which I know I can do wholeheartedly. My perspective is from that of someone who has never seen, read or watched any of the series previously. Fantastic, unique, interesting and believable acting to the end from everyone, especially "Light" and "L". Incredible, strong and emotionally touching - I loved every bit of this film down to the very last drop of tear.

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If you loved the anime, skip this!

Author: AloysiusWeasley from United States
18 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In all seriousness, I went into this with an open mind, thrilled that I'd managed to find a copy offline. I haven't read the manga, but loved at least the first half of the anime series to shreds - it was innovative and clever, to say the least. The live action version, however, shares very little in common with the original counterparts, aside from certain plot points, the character L, and a few lines here and there.

The acting isn't bad, nor is the camera work, but the deviations from canon just kills it dead. What made the series so fresh was entirely lacking in the live action version, and I actually found myself bored watching this. I actually enjoyed the CGI work on Ryuk, and must say I'm glad they didn't go with some idiot in a costume instead.

Oh, and one last thing - if you found L obnoxious in the series, you will want to stab the live action counterpart. While he definitely fits the mannerisms L had in the series to a 'T', it is *completely* over-the-top in the movie. It's completely ridiculous, to the point where it was a major detractor from everything else after the point where L was introduced on-screen.

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Acceptable and enjoyable adaptation of an excellent anime/manga

Author: J5iftY5iveXtreme from none of your business
10 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rarely do live-action adaptations of cartoons do justice to the original source. This 2006 version of the hit series "Death Note" is one of those rare ones.

The original "Death Note" is undoubtedly one of the most unique and original animes/mangas out there. It has a very interesting concept: Boy finds a notebook that can kill anybody in mind just by writing down that person's name; the said-boy attempt to put the notebook into good use by eliminating all of the world's most dreaded criminals, thus earning him notoriety and admiration from world, and catching the attention of his most formidable opponent: a mysterious detective bend on discovering his true identity and putting him to justice. That series is not never lacks clever situations, great suspense, and interesting characters, it also compels the viewer to ask a very poignant question: What is justice? What would you do if you were God?

This live-action movie does a decent job of adapting the original series (at least the first half of it) within a two-hour frame. It keeps the basic and most important scenes from the original series as well as the themes of justice and the ability to kill. That should make this film enjoyable for fans of the original series and those who have never heard of it.

There are some notable departures from the original series, but none of them are bad - and in fact, they are actually really great! The character Shiori is a rather nice creation, and she becomes an interesting plot device. The death of the character Naomi Misora was cleverly-done. The climax was very well-done, and the ending is perhaps one of the most exciting in all cinema: The final scene in which the protagonist/anti-hero Light Yagami meets face-to-face with the detective "L" will send shivers down audiences' spines.

Ken'ichi Matsuyama is literally L brought to life: His appearance, his mannerisms, everything are straight from the book. For those unfamiliar with the series, and this is their first time watching this film, the live-action L makes for an excellent introduction to the most interesting character in the series (and thus the film).

This film however, does not have the complexity of the original series. While the original "Death Note" is filled with suspense-filled scenarios that have the viewer guessing and thinking, this live-action movie is pretty simple and straight-forward; clearly it is meant to be just entertainment, and that's it. There are moments of campiness here however. The special effects used for the Japanese Death Gods ("shinigami") are not only blatantly CGI, they are cartoony-looking as well. Clearly, this is a B-movie.

But there's nothing wrong with that. This movie never tries to be anything more than that. It's not meant for the Oscars or anything of the matter. It's an entertaining flick, and for what it is, it does a good job. And as an adaptation of a cartoon/comic book, it's one of the those films that actually does a decent job of adapting.

Definitely one of my favorites.

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