The narrative of the film is about Light Yagami a law student whose entire life and belief of justice changes when embarking upon a notebook. Not just an ordinary notebook, a notebook that can kill anyone simply from knowing that persons name and face, and simply writing their name into the book. After disbelief that the book actually worked after Light curiously experimented using a criminals name to test it, he begins using the notebook regularly to use against criminals and become a ‘god of the new world’. An intriguing detective named L becomes involved to investigate the case when the FBI and particularly Soichiro Yagami the leading police officer who is also Lights father are determined to find the criminal behind the mysterious deaths of criminals that involves no physical contact.
The plot has many twists and daring moves from both L and Light who keep the movie flowing and also kept me on the edge of my seat. I can’t decide who I was rooting for between the two leading characters, whilst Lights character was powerful and I could almost see how he was feeling towards a lack of justice in the system, L’s character was bizarre, humorous and due to this lightened the mood at many times, despite L’s character having an edge of being quite dark and complex. Whilst the films main obvious theme is death, Kaneko has created it so bravely and carefully that you don’t seem to dwell on who just died too much and is rather subtle on the scenes themselves making it more than watchable for everyone. The CGI of the film isn’t amazing but it translates fairly well do to it being a live action interpretation of a manga series. The complexity of the narrative and faithfulness to the manga(without making it too complicated and keeping whats most important) really makes this film fantastic and couldn’t have been any better than how Kaneko has created it.
Both lead roles Light Yagami played by Tatsuya Fujiwara and L played by Kenichi Matsuyama were performed fantastically and captured the essence of the characters from the manga perfectly, intact there could be no better actors for the parts. Kenichi defiantly had a difficult part to play to bring the character of L to life and help the audience understand and connect to the character but executed it perfectly with just the right amount of quirkiness and oddness and humour.
Despite the film running over two hours, there was no point during the film that I was thinking that I wanted it to end, and the end itself was simply brilliant and left me instantly opening the DVD case and getting the sequel Death Note: The Last Name and inserting it into the DVD player. This film isn’t just for fans of the manga or anime series at all. In fact its more for people who don’t know about Death Note, Kaneko’s adaptation invites everyone to watch this extremely exciting thrilling film of justice and sacrifice.