Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★½

“Joking about bad things isn't the same as doing bad things. The joke may not even be condoning bad things. It could be damming them. It depends on the actual joke.” 
- Ricky Gervais

I’ve seen a few reviews and comments over the past couple of weeks attacking or more so disagreeing with Jojo Rabbit due to its satire and portrayal of Nazi Germany. Personally, as our lord and saviour Ricky Gervais argues in the quote above, I think anyone saying that we can’t joke about Nazi Germany, particularity in the way Waititi does here in such a mocking fashion, is honestly just seeking to be offended. You can joke about a bad thing without it being in support of the bad thing. That’s comedy. Pretty simple. But then again, just my two cents. 

Anyway onto the film itself, Jojo Rabbit has its moments, and when it shines it truely does shine, but it constantly felt like a film struggling with its identity. Flipping between a witty and biting satire of the fall of Nazi Germany, and a heartbreaking character tale of a young boy trapped in the crossfires of a tyrannical rule and it’s teachings. Both sides of the coin truely have their moments of both laughter and heart, but the film too often falls in the awkward middle ground, where it fails to achieve much in either aspect.

From an acting perspective, Jojo Rabbit’s standout is by far its young lead Roman Griffith Davis as the titular character. Davis brings both the comedic and dramatic qualities needed for the character, and really carries the film, which is impressive given his age. Taika Waititi’s portrayal of Adolf Hitler is also frequently hilarious, providing a great mocking of the infamous German leader in some of the most entertaining scenes in the film. Sam Rockwell is also another standout as ‘Captain Klenzendorf’ but more so in his comedic moments then when the film takes a more dramatic turn in the third act. 

Personally, I feel like part of my major issue with ‘Jojo Rabbit’ may have been my expectation of the film going into it. I expected a consistently humourous and satirical attack of Nazi Germany, as Waititi tore down everything that the party stood for. And I did get that... in parts of the film. But the film, particularly in its second half, became so drama heavy in a way I didn’t expect or desire, and it really took me out of the experience. There are humourous moments in this half for sure, but they often feel awkwardly sprinkled in to moments of drama, not quite fitting in a way they did in the much more tonally consistent first act.

Anyway, as a whole ‘Jojo Rabbit’ was good, but could have been better had it not felt so tonally confused. However, some great performances, some really great moments of humour (or moments of drama if that’s what you’re looking for) do make this one worth watching if you get the chance.

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