Saturday, June 01, 2013

Death Note films

This week I've watched the films Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name. They are parts one and two of a Japanese live action film series. The films are based on a Manga series of the same name. The story revolves around a character called Light Yagami who picks up off the ground a cheap black notebook with Death Note written on the cover. There are rules for the user of the death note about its use but basically the owner can see and talk to a God of Death, in Light's case it is called Ryuk (who looks a bit like a cross between an angel and a punk rocker). The death note can be used by its owner to kill anyone whose name is written in the book. What's interesting about Light is that is a law student and his father is a senior police officer. He decides to follow a criminal whose trial collapsed and he witnesses the offender bragging to his colleagues. Judging him to be guilty and likely to re-offend, Light writes the criminal's name in the death note and sure enough he dies of an unusual heart attack. After this epiphany, Light goes on and starts to kill other criminals, writing their names in the book.
This obviously arouses the suspicions of the police but they are clueless to know where to begin. They receive an offer of help from a super sleuth with a hidden identity known only as L, he appears on a laptop carried by a polite old man. The laptop has a voice synthesiser and L communicates his information, which reveals a lot more than the police know. So this trust in L is built up and because of the lack of any other fruitful direction the police want to work together with L to try and identify the killer. L is a geeky young man with an compulsive need to constantly eat sweet food but trust in this character is cleverly built up.
While L is clever, Light is also equally clever in his attempts to outwit L. This cat and mouse relationship is a backbone of the film. The two films are very good, I especially liked the first one but you need to see both to wrap the story up.

Light with Death God Ryuk


laura b. said...

I had never heard of these movies, but the idea is interesting. Sounds a little like Dexter in the aspect of taking justice into your own hands, in function, with a very different form.

Tara said...

Ryuk is kind of a creepy-looking guy! He's got a Joker face!

FW said...

LB: Not seen Dexter but have been interested to find out some more about it.

Tara: Yes, Ryuk does have that Joker style mouth doesn't he?