Death Note leaves viewers on a bad note

Ella Robnett

When Netflix first announced the movie, Death Note, many fans were excited for its release. However, the excitement soon turned into major disappointment. The movie has an embarrassing 38% on rotten tomatoes, and there’s good reason. When the movie came out in the summer of 2017, the director Adam Wingard immediately received criticism due to the way that the movie was made.

Within the two minutes of the movie, main character Light Turner happens to be hit by a book falling from the sky, also known as the death note. Throughout the movie, he learns more about the book, which has powers to kill anyone who’s name is written in it. At first, Turner abuses this power, but eventually he “uses it for good”, in collaboration with his girlfriend, Mia. The mysterious deaths caused by the book do not go unnoticed, so Turner and Mia must avoid getting caught.

This movie tries to cram an entire series into 100 minutes and crucial character development is lost because of this. The whole movie feels rushed, and the pacing was way too fast. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that Turner has the book so soon into the movie, but it is a problem that he gets into a relationship with Mia six minutes later. Big moments seem to happen too quickly, and this leads to a lot of confusion.

Not only is the movie paced too rapidly, but most of the time, characters are contradicting themselves. For example, after Turner has the death note, he sets up an elaborate security system to hide and protect it from everyone. Turner immediately contradicts himself though, as minutes later, he is showing the book to Mia. Turner trusts Mia, who at the time was a complete stranger. This makes no sense to viewers, and was very confusing. The overall relationship is superficial and it feels forced throughout the movie.

As soon as Turner and Mia become close, they kill hundreds of criminals which doesn’t go unnoticed by police and government. This prompts L, the antagonist and an investigator in the murders to further investigate the peculiar deaths. The movie tries so hard to paint Turner as a smart and tough character. Again the movie contradicts itself, because when L and Turner meet, Turner immediately cracks under the smallest amount of pressure. Turner’s inability to remain consistent as a character is extremely frustrating, and made the movie hard to watch.

There was a lot of potential for this movie, especially since the anime that the movie was based on is the second most watched anime in the world. The fast pacing made the movie confusing and overwhelming. It wasn’t enjoyable to watch, and most of the writing and dialogue came across weird or cringey. Lack of character development overall made the movie boring, and not a good movie.