Death Note, 2017
Signed up the 28/03/2017
For as far as I cared to investigate (by that I mean through the outrage on my Twitter feed prior to the movie's premier) this movie is an adaption of a sacred anime of the same name. Netflix, just like many other studios in Hollywood, decided that it knows not a single Japanese person and opted to cast an overwhelmingly white cast instead. Though this seems a futile concern by now, it is very upsetting to witness such unapologetic whitewashing taking place.
The movie itself feels thinned out of source material. The result is a template Hollywood "I'm oh so misunderstood", broody teen drama that is apparently supposed to invoke emotion and raise questions that will allow the confrontation of self. Boo f* hoo, right? I mean I guess that whole mess of a cliché would've worked out well had they not tried to involve so many plots. One minute we're dealing with bullying, and then murders, the other a conspiracy, and then high school romance, abandonment, betrayal, all while we're trying to keep up with and care about the cat-and-mouse game between Light (Nat Wolff) and L (Lakeith Stanfield- dude from Atlanta and Get Out).
The movie is not bad if you're not a fussy watcher (or a very upset anime fanboy/girl, of course). There are those times where you're so enthralled by tiny moments of brilliance that you want to see these characters through. The introduction to the character L is one of those moments. He is a mysterious, super smart and savvy tech geek, who almost resembles Lex Luthor in mannerism. The movie fails to hold up its end while Stanfield gives a performance which belongs in a better movie than this.
The movie tries its hand at "the good guy can also be the bad guy" premise, but falls flat because it wasn't sure what it was trying to get at. This is kind of sad because it feels like a missed opportunity that could have worked out so well for the studio (putting controversies aside). Light is initially the good guy who tries to cleanse the world off all the baddies, his moral compass slightly shifts when his girlfriend Mia comes in the picture and plays the charming psychopath too mesmirized by the power the "Death Note" brings to see her own fallacies. Mia then just serves to highlight the fact that Light may not be that bad afterall despite all the bad calls he has made thus far with the death note in his possession. Just a quick sidenote, a death note is a book that affords its keeper the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it- the death unfolds any which way the keeper describes it in said book.
You don't regret watching Death Note as much while you're in the moment, but the aftertaste is as bad as frozen yoghurt that's lived well past its BB. It's also forgettable, so I guess once you finally come to terms with the fact that you might have wasted your time, the post-okayish-movie amnesia will have started kicking in to even care.
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