Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★½

Jojo Rabbit is to “Heil Hitler” as The Wolf of Wall Street is to the f-word, yet it’s hilariously beautiful. 

This is an absolute miracle work of tone. There aren’t that many well-crafted films that match Jojo Rabbit’s silliness - let alone any that attempt to balance the levels of dramatic and humorous with such an audacious concept. A quirky comedy set amidst the Third Reich could’ve easily been executed horribly wrong. People have awfully screwed-up with much less potentially offensive premises. But Taika fucking Waititi strikes the duality with ease, neither letting go of its bright personality or ignoring the stakes.

Jojo Rabbit
brings a feel-good twist on the typical war genre flick with its happy visuals and youthful spirit. It’s filled to the brim with innocence and optimism. Surrounded by WWII flicks drenched in bloody grit and Oscar-contenders patient in stern storytelling, Jojo Rabbit remains one of the most unique of its kind. Many are saying there isn’t anything new to find in Jojo Rabbit, and with that exact point I disagree. I guarantee it: you will not find too many other films with this childlike atmosphere in the joyful costume design, jubilant set pieces, or naive humor in the war genre.

It just checks every box. The characters are charming; every single player in the cast is delightful. There are a few bigger names but Roman Griffith Davis and Thomasin Mackenzie still dominate with their performances among them. Davis the naive Nazi-fanatic and Mackenzie the clever Jewish girl - it’s a relationship that’s displayed effortlessly. The other performers more than round out the rest. Scarlett Johansson’s outing adds on to her phenomenal 2019 year (also see her in Marriage Story and Avengers: Endgame). Stephen Merchant automatically has my vote with his work on The Office (US), but his time to shine in the iconic Gestapo inspection scene solidifies it. Sam Rockwell steals the show every chance he gets. Aside Rebel Wilson and Archie Yates (who plays the greatest sidekick of all time in Yorkie), Taika Waititi being a Jewish dude starring in a simultaneous director/actor role as Adolf Hitler proves he can literally do anything. Comedy doesn’t get much better. All of them act in this united feel of silliness that smoothly transitions to mellow when need be. 

The use of composition to communicate theme and story, while simple, is used with maximum impact in its foreshadowing/motifs. Waititi establishes some of his director signatures more specific than the humor, with circular panning montages used alike in Hunt for the Wilderpeople and familial themes derived on the falsehood of their lead characters’ expectations. The one slight problem I had with this originally was the ending and I think that has changed here on the second viewing. It felt cut short originally but now it feels just right, there’s nothing better to end on than the tributing note of happiness it does. Jojo Rabbit is an imaginative breath of fresh air and an epically fun display of conceptual creativity. Critics say it says nothing when really it says everything: we just have to keep going


Fuck off Hitler. 9/10. 

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