Death Note, the anime and manga, is a tense, thrilling moral tale about the ambiguity of good vs. Evil and the repercussions of playing God; it is filled with memorable characters and has beautiful animation. Death Note, the movie, however, is somewhat of a mess. The problem here is that they try to stay too faithful to the original source material and therefore rush a lot of story elements and basically, if you are unfamiliar with it, one will get lost. I really enjoyed, it was great having a lot of memories back and it's kind of a Cliffs Note version of a complicated seriesif you don't have much time (though you also have to see the sequel because this is only the fist half) , but beginners will probably be put off by it.
Oh, by the way, someone here mentioned that she wished that L's circles under his eyes were bigger, and I thought the exact same thing. I'm not too nit-picky that it bothered me, but it's something that stuck in my mind.