Are you a fan of Death Note? If you are, then you've surely heard of the Hollywood movie adaptation Japan's beloved story directed by Adam Wingard (Blair Witch), which stars Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), and Margaret Qualley (Palo Alto).
What it's about
Just like the original story, Netflix's Death Note is about the powerful notebook that can take anyone's life when you write their names in it. The notebook comes in the possession of Light Turner (Nat Wolff) who uses it to take the lives of criminals and those who make it difficult for anyone to live. While he has good intentions at first, his work gets worldwide attention and launches a worldwide investigation headed by L (Lakeith Stanfield).
The major differences
Fans who have seen the Japanese movies will surely notice the following differences:
- Light's character.
Unlike the original movies' where Light grew up in a happy household, Light Turner grew up with just his dad around. His mom died and he thinks his dad is to blame for this. Thus, they have a rough relationship and aren't really interested in each other during the first few minutes of the movie. He's also easily scared of things, which leads him to confess of the notebook's existence to Mia.
- L's character.
Lakeith's L is a bit impulsive compared to L in the Japanese movies who's very calculated in his movements. He reveals himself to Light early on and does a few things out of anger and frustration, which we could all say is very not L.
- Mia becomes Light's accomplice.
In the original Death Note movies, Light's GF has no idea of the notebook's existence, which is why Light goes about the killings alone. In this version, though, Mia knows all about it and even helps Light come up with a name ("Kira") for themselves. However, she still doesn't see Ryuk (voiced by Willem Defoe) because she isn't the keeper of the Death Note.
- The notebook has SO MANY rules.
Thus, being its keeper is tricky and complicated. You can specify the actions of a person leading to their deaths and you can also burn pages (just once). Even Light hasn't finished reading all the rules!
- The story itself.
The story is entirely different from the Japanese films. While the original ones deal with Light's killings of the criminals and the mind game between Light and L, the Netflix version deals with the two characters' game in a different way—both of them are impulsive and do things without
- There are a few funny moments.
The themes discussed in the movie can really be a bit heavy, so the few funny moments (like that part when Light was so terrified of Ryuk) are very much welcome to give our hearts a nice break.
- The movie explores different manners of death.
Which makes the film more gruesome than the deaths via heart attack in the Japanese movies. Don't worry, though, because that's only in the first half of the film.
- What happens to L's assistant, Watari (Paul Nakauchi), changes every single thing.
And that probably dictates what happens in the second part of the movie. When Light sends him to go looking for L's real name, away from the investigator's side, this makes L go nuts and totally cray cray. He starts acting impulsively and even seeks to end Light's life without thinking of the consequences of his actions.
- The ending's a bit weird.
Or maybe they're trying to build up room for a sequel? While Light reveals all the things he has done to his dad after a coma, we badly want to know what happens next—not only to him but also to L and Mia who got so worked up on being the notebook's keeper—and how he was able to survive everything he's been through using the notebook.
Should you watch it?
If you're a Death Note fan, you should. While the changes they made will surely break your heart, it's interesting to see how it all plays out when the story's set in a different country and when it involves a different culture.
Death Note is now showing on Netflix.