Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

A comedy about Nazism, how it can brainwash young minds, handling heavy stuff such as anti-semitism, war and genocide, might turn you off immediately. And in the trying times of rising white nationalism in 2020, you can't really be blamed, especially as not all of the humour here is high-brow satire. There's a fair amount of slapstick too. Jarring from tones, the big laughs of the chaos in a Nazi youth camp to the dangers faced from hiding a Jew in your attic, will alienate many.

But even though Jojo Rabbit is brilliant at pointing out the absurdity of Nazism and racism, be it the scary stories they tell each other about Jews or a bizarre drawn out "Heil Hitler!" bit, Taika Waititi is right to not shy away from the evils and horrors that came about from Germany's fascism. It's not subtle, but it never tries to be and there is no call for it, because some people need to get these messages into their thick heads. The need to love and dance in life, or just telling a little shit that, "You’re not a Nazi. You’re a ten year-old kid, who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club", which pretty sums up the mind of the follower that can be roped into such a backwards way of thinking perfectly. Get onboard with the two tones and you could find yourself in for a great time.

Waititi plays a needy, slightly camp version of Hitler. Stephen Merchant, who, in a backhanded compliment sort of way, looks the part of a Nazi a little too well. Jojo is wonderfully foolish as he hands out Nazi propaganda while dressed as a robot, a phenomenal performance from the young Roman Griffin Davis. And his adorable, chubby best friend Yorki is to die for as he laments that it's "not a good time to be a Nazi" (let's make sure we always keep it that way). Sam Rockwell plays a German war hero desperate to get back to the frontline, sharing a sort of homoerotic chemistry with Reek from Game of Thrones. Rebel Wilson brings hilarious chaotic energy to the mix, just in case there wasn't enough already. "Shitler". At the end of the day, this stuff will never not be funny. If you can't laugh at Nazis, then what's the point?

There's never a bad time to yell, "Fuck off Hitler!", but I think I needed to hear it now more than ever after what has been a pretty shit decade politically. And I'm overjoyed that the middle finger to fascism is coming from the genius Taika Waititi.

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