Death Note

Death Note ★★★★★

If an adaptation of a story made famous in one medium becomes condensed, changed  and rushed in another medium but that adaptation still manages to convey the major themes and ideas held by the original story, then isn't it a successful adaptation? Certainly there are a large number of fans of HBO's Game of Thrones who have never read George RR Martin's source novels, and yet grasps the characters and themes of that saga as well as any book reader. Here, then, is an adaptation of the manga and anime Death Note that, while clearly flawed, contains enough greatness to satisfy me and then some. 

Already being a fan of director Adam Wingard's previous work (especially 2014's The Guest), I was more than pleased to see what he does here with this material, leaning into his neon-goth aesthetic visually, and playing with the tone of the film just as he had with Guest and the excellent slasher You're Next. Death Note is part "Monkey's Paw"-esque horror tale, part dark teen romance, part procedural, and part satire. It's not an easy balance, and it makes the film feel like a patchwork, with scenes flying by at a rapid clip, and so many huge conceptual ideas literally thrown away. But while (I'm sure--I've never read the manga or seen the anime) those concepts are further fleshed out in the series, the film manages to keep things just this side of cohesive, to tell a story of a bitter boy and sullen girl given unspeakable power.

Bill liked these reviews