Death Note: The Last Name

"OK"

Death Note: The Last Name Review


Although the Japanese manga-derived Death Note was met with a disappointing two-star review here at Filmcritic.com, I'm inclined to be a little more generous to its sequel, Death Note: The Last Name, if only because Japanese pop culture is pretty cool in general and the film has plenty of style, if not mind-bending substance.

Both films revolve around the dreaded "Death Note," a thin paper book dropped from the heavens by a demonic "reaper," depicted in the movie as a ten-foot-tall CGI-generated winged monster that looks like a cross between the Joker and Keith Richards. Once you possess the book, you simply write someone's name in it and he dies how and when you describe. The Death Note also comes with a long list of rules and regulations that help to power numerous clever tricks and plot twists.

The first time around, the Death Note fell into the hands of Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara), an earnest law student who used it at first simply to wipe out all the criminals in Japan and bring an end to crime. The police, including Light's father (Takeshi Kaga) took a dim view of all this murder, however, and tried like crazy to track down the mysterious invisible killer, a task that got harder as Light turned bad and started using the Death Note to kill off the investigators who were looking for him.

This time around, Light is still on his rampage and enjoying delusions of grandeur when a second Death Note drops into the hands of a Britney-like pop star named Misa (Erika Toda), who also gets off on its powers and comes to fall madly in love with Light when she learns that he, too, has a Death Note.

Desperate for help, the police turn to the mysterious and charismatic L, a twenty-ish shut-in who lives in secluded luxury with his loyal manservant and an impressive array of computers (sort of like Bruce Wayne). The cadaverous, whippet-thin L, who gorges himself constantly on any kind of candy, cookie, or dessert, is a mastermind who never sleeps, and through hard thinking and lots of database crunching, he is able to focus his suspicions on Light, much to Light's father's distress. Light digs in for what becomes an epic battle of wits -- he even joins the search for the Death Note killer to throw everyone off the track -- and the two geniuses toy with each other as the Death Notes continue to be deployed to do their dirty work in increasingly creative ways.

Death Note: The Last Name is not particularly fast-paced or violent. It's just sort of cool and fun, and it's hard not to fall a little bit in love with the supremely weird L. In fact, he turned out to be so popular that the producers rushed out a third film, L: Change the World, that's neither a prequel nor a sequel but more like a "simulquel," squeezing in an additional storyline for L on his downtime from the Death Note mystery. It's the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead of manga. Chalk up another one for Japanese creativity.

Aka Desu nôto: The last name, Death Note 2.

Those chips'll kill ya.



Death Note: The Last Name

Facts and Figures

Run time: 141 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd November 2006

Box Office Worldwide: $50.7M

Distributed by: Viz Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shususe Kanedo

Producer: Takahiro Sato

Starring: as Light Yagami, Takeshi Kaga as Soichiro Yagami, Erika Toda as Misa Amane, Nakamura Shidō II as Ryuuk (voice), Shigeki Hosokawa as FBI Agent Ray, Shunji Fujimura as Watari, Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L, Shin Shimizu as Kenzo Mogi, Sota Aoyama as Sota Aoyama, as Sayu Yagami

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.