Death Note Nat Wolff

Netflix released the second trailer for Adam Wingard’s adaptation of the popular manga ‘Death Note.’ In it, the uninitiated get a clearer picture of the film’s plot.

We see Light (played by Nat Wolff) as a student who is bullied and robbed, setting up the motivation to want to change the world by taking down those who are ruining it. The means to make that happen comes from a discovered note which will grant the death of anyone Light knows and commits to paper. Murder ensues. Along for the ride is the note’s magic creator Shinigami Ryuk, played by Willem Dafoe. Shinigami seems to be a Grim Reaper equivalent. It’s like if Genie from Aladdin was a hitman dressed like a tribal Green Goblin. Needless to say, once the authorities get a sense of what’s going on they go on a manhunt for Light.

The premise sounds great and there is potentially a lot to explore with an emotional young adult setting out for justice. I can only assume he makes a hard left to revenge the town. I imagine a cross between ‘Dexter’ and that ‘Twilight Zone’ episode ‘It’s a Good Life’ in which a child has more power than he has a grasp of morality.

‘Death Note’ has been the subject of a ‘white-washing’ controversy. We see from the trailer that the actors cast are mostly white. The original actors were animated…I mean, Japanese. It would have been a nice nod to the source material to cast some Asian actors in the movie, but I fully support the remake taking place in the United States. Social justice issues and the polarization of American youth would be compelling cultural links for this story, but who knows if Netflix will take the risk to capitalize on it.

‘Death Note’ comes to Netflix August 25th.