At first I was dubious, but this life-action screen adaptation of the Japanese manga won me over. A college student named Light finds a mysterious notebook that can cause the death of anyone whose name he writes in it. He starts by causing a wave of heart attacks among prominent criminals, but soon Light is hurting innocent people just to protect himself from exposure. It doesn't help that the policeman heading up the investigation in the mysterious killer known only as Kira turns out to be Light's own father. Matters are complicated further by the demon of death who hangs around kibbutzing about the Death Note. Meanwhile, a strange young computer genius named only "L" (who has an amusingly epicene way of fingering the junk food he keeps eating; he's the next Crispin Glover) joins the chase. The whole thing is cartoony but fascinating, and the sequel (due out in 2009) promises the final showdown between Light and L.