Movie Review: Death Note (2017)

Synopsis: An intelligent and rebellious high school student meets a death god and is given a note book that enables him to kill anyone he wants just by writing their name in it. After using the book to get revenge on the local bully and the man who killed his mom, he (along with his new girlfriend) decides to use the book to kill criminals. However, his efforts result in making him the center of an FBI agent's investigation.

Who's in it? The movie stars Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Willem Dafoe, Lakeith Stanfield and Shea Whigham.

Review: After watching another Netflix original movie, What Happened to Monday, and enjoying it, I decided I wanted to see this new film as soon as it became available. My wife and I ended up doing that last night and, once again, were very impressed.

This movie actually ended up surprising me a bit. From the description, I was a little concerned it would become either very predictable or end up being a bit dull. As it turns out, it was neither.

The thing I found I really enjoyed about this movie was it was difficult to figure out how it would end. This is because, while Light (Wolff) started out with the intention to only kill people who really deserved it, he also ended up reaching the point where he was willing to justify killing those who were much more innocent if it meant protecting himself. This was especially true of the FBI agent that was closing in on him (Stanfield), but was protected from the book because nobody knew his name.

What really won me over, however, was his girlfriend, Mia (Qualley), who wound up being one of the more interesting characters in the film. At first, I thought she was just going to be a pretty face. Instead, she turned out to be much more willing to cross ethical lines and made efforts to manipulate Light into doing the same. As a result of this, she became quite a large wild card in the film because, in addition to having to stay one step ahead of the FBI and the death god, Ryuk (voiced by Dafoe), he was essentially forced to match wits with someone he was in love with.

I'm a bit undecided about the film's ending because, while I liked how Light managed to secretly use the book's abilities/rules in his favor, I thought it left a little too much to the imagination too. It would have been nice to see a little more closure and now I'm hoping there is going to be a sequel that clears some of that up.

Final Opinion: This is a unique movie with an interesting story. I enjoyed watching it and do recommend it.

My Grade: A


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