I'd vaguely heard of this one before, heard that it was about a boy who finds a notebook and discovers he can kill people by writing in it. Based on that, I didn't think I'd be interested because it sounded like the typical stupid Hollywood slasher movie. But it's not like that at all. Death Note is about the line between good and evil, about justice, the corrupting influence of power, and involves a game of hunter and hunted, in which two brilliant minds grapple with one another. What I loved about this movie is that it is so smart, with twists and turns and continually raised stakes, great characters, symbolism, and moral questions to ponder, not to mention two fine-looking protagonists.
There are so many wonderful touches in this. I love Ryuk's commentary as Light slowly becomes corrupt. Ryuk is a devil type character introducing temptation and seeing what Light will do with it, but also presents him with choices. At one point Ryuk says something like, "humans are so much fun to play with." Almost like a dog, Ryuk tags along with Light - watching him. I love the fact that Ryuk craves apples and chows them down enthusiastically. I love how amazingly smart both Light and L are - notice the similarity there - they are really two sides of a coin. And I love the chess-game nature of their moves and countermoves as they attempt to outsmart each other. And I LOVE, LOVE that L is addicted to sweets and almost absently snarfs down all kinds of candy while he is focussed on the intellectual problem of tracking down his nemesis. At one point, while he's glued to about a dozen video screens looking for patterns, he is also constructing a candy shish kabob by pushing marshmallows and chocolates on a skewer. L also has a certain resemblance to Ryuk, in the kohl-edged eyes and white pallor and the addiction to food. The ending is intriguing, and open for a sequel. I think there is a Death Note 2 - which I'll have to go out and rent.
I understand that Death Note was originally a Japanese manga - found images for it on google and I'll have to look it up. And Light and L are extremely slashable. I'm sure it's going on out there as we speak. They are in kind of like a Superman/Lex Luthor rivalry. I totally recommend this movie.
Addendum: Eh well I saw part 2 tonight and I didn't care for it particularly. Still has the complicated twists in plot, but went on way too long and got weird and no, did not like the ending. So now I'm not as hot on it as I was. Oh well.