Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, William Dafoe
Runtime: 1h 45mins
I’m quite honestly at a loss of words here as I write this review about Netflix and “talented” Adam Wingard’s latest adaptation of the hit anime: Death Note. So much so that I’m gonna need to do an obligatory disclaimer before moving on for clarification and context reasons.
And to start off: As far as the anime goes, I have seen it and I remembered liking it enough. And even for the release of this film, I decided on not watching it. But mischief works in mysterious ways. I was recommended by a “trusted” friend to give it a try. And boy, now, I want to strangle him! And one last thing, this is not the first time Wingard single-handedly destroyed a film. His ‘Blair Witch’, a film that ruined almost the entirety and failed as a horror film, I was getting incredibly nervous about remaining unbiased and go into this fairly. Now, with those out of the way, let’s get into this shit.
I, tried really hard here guys to be fair to this film and had hoped that after Castlevania could do the video game adaption justice some good and make for an almost fantastic TV series, this could. Then the casting was announced. It made me confused, and then the promotional material, and I got nervous.
But regardless I listened to my dear ol’ friend and what ends up happening? 105 minutes of head trauma! But, I can tell you the very little things I did like which was fine camera work and cinematography, maybe one or two jokes that worked, some decent conceptual ideas, and … no that’s it.
The rest is just about as negative as you could expect from – an awful soundtrack that goes ridiculously out of place 80’s style with pretentious choosing, an opening that essentially rushes out Light getting the Death Note and serving as a legitimate pointless introduction to a romance (I’ll get into that later), the acting for once being all around either mediocre (L and most of the main side characters), wasted (Willem Dafoe makes for a surprisingly good Ryuk), and just over the top (Light’s actor is so bad that it made me laugh unintentionally when Ryuk meets him at the school and he tries to escape. No joke, I couldn’t breathe for 5 minutes. It was so bad).
The characters despite Ryuk were all just so unlikable, dumb and just not even developed to the point that I can’t tell any of them other than their stereotyped traits and forced plot back stories the story shares, a story filled with so much plot conveniences and clichés it’s not even funny; an infuriating third act and ending, Light and Mia’s high school romance being so goddamn unlikable and genuinely forced that I wished they could get off the screen, scene transitions filled with inconsistencies and overused dissolves. Editing? It’s so disgusting that it made me want to vomit, unnecessary gory violence, and so much wasted potential and issues that for everyone’s sake I’ll stop here.
Dear god, what in the world happened to this film? I honestly wasn’t expecting to hate the film way I did, especially since I never dreamt the anime going into this, and I figured I’d find it at best mediocre. But my god, Netflix and director Adam Wingard proved me wrong. I feel frustrated this was just poorly conceived and rushed to an hour and forty-five painful minutes. Just go watch the anime like I did if you want to see this incredibly well-developed concept well realized. Adam Wingard & Netflix: May both your souls rest in peace. Amen!