Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★½

Same as with Jordan Peele in horror circles I haven't been the biggest fan of this recent fervor about Taika Waititi with movie fans in general. Sure, the man made a few good movies, but I thought the absolute love and adoration weren't 100% earned and were more of the meme variety.

So, I was going into "Jojo Rabbit" with a generous helping of trepidation that I'm going to be subjected to 100 minutes of cutesy humor and meme-able Taika as Hitler moments. And while there's certainly some of that present, I can't help, but admit that "Jojo Rabbit" is an absolute blast of creativity, energy and exquisite storytelling that caught me by surprise.

The film is very much in the realm of the films of Wes Anderson, maybe even enough to be considered copycattish at times, but that should be more of a compliment when done as earnestly as it is here. There's comedy, drama, quirkiness, suspense and even a few bits of war movie action and it all gels together perfectly thanks to the cast.

It's a bit sad that a lot of viewers might walk away from this film mostly remembering the aforementioned Hitler as portrayed by the director. He is surely very entertaining, but he's there more as a marketing hook. I thought the real pleasure was in the performances of the kids, Johansson as the mom (much prefer her here than Marriage Story) and Rockwell as the Nazi soldier. They really deliver the goods and Sam Rockwell proves once again (please watch "Richard Jewell") what a fantastic actor he is.

This film is the biggest surprise of this Oscar season for me and has definitely added points to my personal evaluation of Taika Waititi as a filmmaker. If he continues to bring such creativity and passion to his future works then I'll gladly put up with all the memes and social media attention the man gets.

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