This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Josh Gibbs’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The ever-eloquent Scarlett Johansson, from the Jojo Rabbit gag reel:
“What?! I love my country, I'm the biggest Deutch-a-fan... German-a-fan, a... fu -- *laughs* I'm a, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a... I'm a Deutchapath. *laughs* I'm a, I'm a, I'm a... I'm a... I'm a Germaniac, is what I am. I'm a Germaniac!”
*takes deep breath, lifts wine glass*
“Deutchaphile, Deutchaholic, Deutchapath, Germanafan, Germaniac, okay.”
It's great to see Taika given the opportunity to stretch his creative muscles after the relatively straightforward filmmaking fare of Ragnarok. His visual storytelling and establishment of key features is wonderfully executed here. Exterior locations are shot in beautiful wide angles with a strong grasp over depth-of-field, and interiors feel intimate without sacrificing the ever-present threats the protagonists are facing. McKenzie is incredible, bringing levels of nuance to this role that certainly weren’t written on paper. I also appreciated the screenplay more this time around, and have definitely come around to realising it deserved that Oscar nod.
I'll get this out of the way now - I REALLY wish they had cut that final imaginary Hitler scene. I understand why it's there, but it's horribly on-the-nose and completely breaks the flow of emotion present in the far more delicate scenes which bookend it. Taika clearly trusts his audience's intelligence enough to recognise a pair of shoes, so why is the same not true when it comes to sussing out the (slightly) more subtle anti-war themes present in those final scenes? Why does he feel the need to undercut that for a literal 'f**k off' to Hitler? A more effective way of communicating Jojo's newfound maturity and emotional growth would be to completely cut imaginary Hitler from the picture once Jojo discovers that the real Hitler is dead and gone.
Aside from that, while the first hour or so is largely silly yet entertaining fun with a few moments of depth and darkness sprinkled in here and there, those final thirty minutes are something approaching greatness. And as per usual, Rockwell is man of the hour.
Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final