Netflix's Deathnote: A poor rendition of the original

Netflix newest movie Death Note is Dead on Arrival. The streaming service known for quality shows such as Orange is the New Black and 13 Reasons Why, has missed the mark with its latest original movie Death Note. The movie is the fourth adaption of the popular anime series by Takeshi Obati aired on the popular streaming site August 25, 2017. Death note tells the story of a loner high school boy, Light Hunter (Natt Wolff) who finds a magical book which controls death. Light and his girlfriend Misa Aname (Margret Qualley) become vigilantes using the book to kill criminals but are soon entangled in a wicked game of cat and mouse with the officials, a detective known only by the letter L (Keith Stanfield) and a demonic porcupine creature named Ryuk (Willem Defoe).

Straying away from the source material, the movie moves its setting from Japan to Seattle choosing western-looking characters in the process. While departing so far from the source material does not necessarily ruin a movie, the casting of actors who cannot act truly does. This coupled with lack logic within two major characters described as geniuses, and disappointing ending equals a movie as dull as the constant expression on Natt Wolff's face. With one expression to speak of the actor playing Light Hunter, Natt Wolff gives little to the character. The one actor who may have brought up the production value Willem Defoe was stuck in the whole movie.

The expressionless actor is magnified intensely by the poor character building of the script. Described as Geniuses both Light Hunter and L show little evidence to back the claim up including a lack of logic which is astounding. Light does little to hide that he is the character including talking about and reading the book in public where can easily be caught by officials. Equally while L does not see this behavior in Light there is no explanation how L got to the conclusion Light is the Killer losing some depth within the character. Frankly what should be a Sherlock and Moriarty style show down is frankly dumbed down as Light is portrayed as a naive Teenager and L a crazed detective.

However the most disappointing aspect of the movie is the ending, with L chasing after Light, Light loses the detective and ends up having a rather anticlimactic moment with his girlfriend, Misa Aname on the fairest wheel. Never has a police chase ended so strangely than that which moves from action to young adult romance within the last few minutes of the movie. This anticlimactic ending leaves something to be desired within the context of an action film and leaves audiences which wanted to see a final showdown between Light and L disappointed. Overall the movie deserves a worse rotten tomatoes score than the 41% it received.


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