Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit

I was very apprehensive about seeing this one. Waititi is a director who's work I've generally enjoyed but when I heard that his next film was going to be a comedy set during world war 2 which prominently features Hitler as one of its main characters (imaginary or not) my first thought was uh oh!

To my surprise my initial reaction towards the film was positive. I thought the general message behind the film was a good one, it's a straight up anti facist film. I know it was getting some stick for not delving as deep into the full extent of Nazisim as it could have, but this was another point I found not to be true. The film is entirely from the perspective of a 10 year old German boy who knows nothing of the full extent of the crimes the Nazi's committed or the fact that they are even crimes to being with. The films shocking parts hit home powerfully enough to make the point the film needed to make. Jojo knows nothing of the holocaust only what he sees in his own town and his immediate surroundings. Jojo seeing enemies of the state hanging from the gallows in his towns public square isn't horrific for him, he's completely desensitized to it. He's been a product of propaganda his whole life and since the narrative is entirely from his point of view it's not awful, it's just what has to be done to protect Germany.

On the other hand and after much thinking on it, there are some parts of the film that from an ethical point of view are not okay. My problems with the film are not with any of the depictions or story but with the jokes. Waititi has a get out of jail free card with this film as he comes from a Jewish backround and he absolutely knows it. I hate to say it but a lot of the humour is racist and I don't know if it's bad film-making or just ignorant writing. There is a reccuring joke that Jews are disgusting, they have deformities and special abilities that they use to do their evil biddings. It's true that German children were told these things but the way in which it's presented to us as an audience is as if these things are funny. Okay, I assume Waititi is making fun of how ridiculous the Nazi's were for coming up with such nonsense but it didn't always play like that. It played as if these things themselves were funny. Perhaps I'm being overly picky but if your audience is laughing at the racist jokes instead laughing at the ridiculousness of the Nazi's it can only be described as bad directing. I don't even fully blame Waititi for this, political satire about the Nazi's is so so difficult that even the most talented of directors can make mistakes.

I'm going to leave this one unrrated even though I really enjoyed it. Very difficult film to rate and even write a review for.

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