Imagine for a moment that you had the means to dictate the death of just about anyone, in exactly the manner, and at exactly the time, that you choose. No fingerprints, no alibis –- you don’t have to be anywhere nearby. You just need a name, a mental image of a face, a pen, and a certain book that’s a bit tough to come by. Could you kill without consequence? That’s a trick question. Of course there will be consequences.
“The human whose name is written in this note shall die.” Those are the words inscribed on the black-bound book found by Light Yigami, a handsome, charming and exceptionally intelligent young student with a strong, distinctive sense of morality. It was dropped in front of him at random by Ryuk, an apple-gobbling “Shinigami” (Japan’s folkloric adoption of the Grim Reaper). Ryuk’s a little bored with his task, and finds his prey more entertaining alive –- doubly so when they get to write to story, so to speak. Light becomes perhaps a little too comfortable with his newfound, godlike power of ultimate justice (you’ll notice him engrossed in his copy of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil), and the widesperead adulation of a thankful public who have christened him “Kira” can’t help. But matters will soon become quite complicated, especially by L, the enigmatic, incognito mastermind of the police dragnet closing in on Light.
After the animes and the videogames comes the first of the films adapting Death Note, the delightful and diabolical manga that’s spawned a cult following. At the helm, Shusuke Kaneko, a familiar face at Fantasia and an exceptional talent in bringing resonant thought and substance to presumably lightweight fantasy cinema. Scaling down dramatically from his three Gamera gems of the late ’90s and sidestepping the spectacular gore and shocks of his recent God's Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand, but delivering a sharp, witty, carefully etched flight of imagination -- with an escalating battle of intellects at its core -- that doesn’t hesitate to ask, with a cocked brow and a sly grin, some challenging philosophical questions.
CANADIAN PREMIERE Hosted by Director SHUSUKE KANEKO
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Screenplay: Tetsuya Oishi, from Tsugumi Oba, Takeshi Obata
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara
Producers: Toyoharu Fukuda, Takahiro Kobashi, Takahiro Sato