Death Note: Light Up the New World

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2016
  • 135 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

The book is back – in an edition of six copies this time! It has been 10 years since Light Yagami, the twisted genius known to the world as the supernatural serial killer Kira, had his own name scrawled in the Death Note, thus ending his reign of righteous murder. But the Shinigami King, ruler of the reapers, found Kira’s activities delightful, and so has scattered a half-dozen Death Notes throughout the world. Soon enough, the bodies are piling up, and the menacing, masked Death Note Task Force is resurrected to confront the problem. The public is terrified, especially after phones, TVs and PCs are hijacked to carry a message from Kira from beyond the grave. Others have taken up his cause, and with pens in hand and a gang of weird new reapers at their sides (but not necessarily on their side), a terrifying new game of danger and deceit has begun.

The pen is mightier than the sword. At least, when you have a Death Note at hand. The wry and philosophical Japanese horror-thriller manga series leaped onto the silver screen a decade ago with an amazing adaptation by Shusuke Kaneko (he of the ’90s GAMERA reboot) followed by a pair of sequels, and then a TV miniseries, acting as a prequel to DEATH NOTE: LIGHT UP THE NEW WORLD. Now it’s Shinsuke Sato in the director’s chair, handling the material with the same class and panache he brought to other manga adaptations, like LIBRARY WARS and I AM A HERO. Adam Wingard’s American remake arrives at the end of this summer (Willem Dafoe as Ryuk? Too perfect!), but in the meantime, the Japanese original gets bigger, better and more mind-boggling. Take note!

- Rupert Bottenberg

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