Sunday 8th March

Death Note: The Last Name

Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Year: 2006
Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Shido Nakamura, Erika Toda, Ken'ichi Matsuyama

March, so far, has been a pretty quiet month for watching films. I've had other things demanding my attention, like people's birthdays and a new Wii console! However, having previously read about the Japanese Death Note films, I had a real desire to see them. Reviews I have read in the past have been really complimentary, and the subject matter sounded different and very interesting. So when I spotted this film being shown on Film Four, I didn't pass up the opportunity to watch it.

I was hoping that it was going to be the first of the Death Note films, as there wasn't much of a clue in the title as to which one it was. Turns out it was the second of the two films, so I was a little wary that I might not understand what was going on. Fortunately, this wasn't the case. I'm fully aware that by not having seen the first film I may have missed some nuances of the plot, but the basic story was completely understandable. I say completely - it's a complicated plot that demands attention. As such, it's a long film, but it doesn't move slowly, and unlike some other films, everything that's in there needs to be there in order for the plot to work.

The story begins when a girl is saved from death and receives a notebook, The Death Note. If you write a name in the notebook, this person will die in whichever way you choose. Kira, who featured in the first film, has been using another copy of a notebook to kill off all criminals, in order to make the world a safer place. The police are trying to find Kira (not his real name), and this film shows how he and the girl with the notebook meet, then takes it from there. That's a very basic summary of the plot, and it gets a lot more complicated after that - that's only the first 30 minutes of a 2 and a half hour film.

The film's unique, interesting and very memorable - and even a little scary in places. The Death Gods are especially impressive, and somebody must have had a great imagination to come up with them! On the strength of this and other Japanese manga-related films I've seen this year (I'm thinking particularly of Howl's Moving Castle), I need to start watching more of them.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.