Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★★

I thought I was going to be able to say "Wow, so its Moonrise Kingdom, but with NAZIS!", but it turns out that was only part of the story. In cinema, Nazi/Holocaust/WWII films are a dime a dozen with even comedic ones still saturating the market so it takes a lot to stand out among them all. This did just that.

Tonally, this was a tight rope walk that it did like a seasoned pro who's been on the high wire so many times they have no sense of adrenaline or nerve from doing it anymore. This is extremely evident in the third act when it jerks between busting your gut to breaking your heart so rapidly yet with such precise control that it's seamless. Not only that, but throughout when you have simply strict comedy it works to maintain humor even with an imaginary fried Hitler and antisemitic jokes that works to poke fun at Nazism at no expense to Jewish population. To make all of this work is what sets this film apart as an impressive comedy, but it's narrative and commentary is where it has it's heart.

It utilizes a coming-of-age plot focusing on a subject of this war that is rarely utilized as a focus point for a story: Hitler Youth. Why it has taken so long to have a mainstream film about it is beyond me, but it definitely set a high standard few will be able to achieve. It shows this boy's growth away from fanaticism with the trajectory to that climax allowing him to realize its true sinisterness after seeing how it devastates his family. All of this while producing a healthy dose of laughs that do a great job either aiding in this commentary or simply just to be random which respectably works too ("FINISH HIM!").

The above is made possible partly through Taika Waititi's direction of this. While his cast bears much of the brunt he does his best to hint at the prevalence of certain elements up until the very moment you realize why he did it such as the emphasis on the mother's shoes. His direction is also partly why tonally this doesn't get out of hand maintaining a consistency and steady hand that makes you feel it isn't crossing the line and also not doing enough. It's a flawless presentation that makes me interesting in investigating his past work and looking forward to what else he has up his sleeve.

Above all, however, is the casting of this film that makes this the gem that it is with much of this cast indisputably deserving Academy Award nods this. Roman Griffin Davis despite being 10 years old AND this being his first film is just impressive not only in his comedic timing, but also in effectively portraying the reality of war and Nazism. Sam Rockwell provides a charm and does a great job throwing out hints of the secrets of his character until the truth is evident to the audience later making you devastated by what happens to his character the NAZI soldier! Rebel Wilson brings the hefty doses of laughs and the casting of the Gestapo was perfection, but the most impressive was Taika Waititi. He transforms into this detestable figure to provide a goofy and admittedly charming spin on him while insuring the result is purely for inducing laughs and NOT to grow to like him.

To summarize everything here I'll say that this is not just another Nazi/WWII/Holocaust film and no, it's not just another comedy with testy humor either. This is a film that did everything right and then some. It utilized comedy effectively by producing hearty laughs while never losing sight on its message. Tonally it goes back and forth so impeccably that I'm hard-pressed to think of a film like that does it so successfully. Finally, through the heart and talent of its cast does this ever present message burn its mark into the conscious of all who see it. Let me just say that words altogether can't describe the impact this had on me so just take these four from me instead: GO SEE THIS NOW!!!

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