Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★

do you ever watch a film and just feel... deeply embarrassed for everyone involved

without even going beyond the surface level, it's a desperately unfunny film. bit of a problem for an 'anti-hate satire', eh. sure, there's power in deflating the self-aggrandising mythmaking of ultra nationalists (something that diamantino succeeded in), but the humour here is rarely more sophisticated than 'what if some nazis were also GAY' or 'what if one of history's most ruthlessly evil leaders was a manbaby'

here's a thought: if the vast majority of nazi characters in your anti-nazi film are sympathetic, likeable screwballs, then maybe - just maybe - you fucked up.

it's one thing to depict an otherwise good kid who gets brainwashed into blind fanaticism. i think we're still starved of media that thoughtfully examines that sort of transformation in children and adults alike. but it's something else entirely to convey the primary real adult nazi as a funny, well-natured dude who basically just made a big whoopsie (gosh, don't you hate it when you accidentally commit genocide), but ultimately redeems himself.

at the very least, it's a nice-looking film (give the wardrobe people a raise), but you know... the whole idealised, childlike perspective only works if it's contrasted with reality. i mean, no shit, we know why nazis are bad, but if you're going to turn an irrational hatred of jews into a repeated punchline, and if the worst war atrocities committed on screen are book burnings, then... doesn't it just sanitise the whole thing?

but okay. there is that spoilery screencap that's been doing the rounds on twitter dot com today, the moment meant to lay bare the terrible consequences of jojo's beloved extremism, and is supposed to convince me that this film isn't garbage. the problem is, the film can't even help itself from being twee and cutesy-clever in its emotional turning point, totally undermining what should be a gut-punch. even the previous shot of hanging bodies, while effectively chilling and disruptive, hardly conveys the scope of the nazis' mercenary cruelty

i feel like i should qualify my opening sentence by saying that it wouldn't be so cringeworthy if taika waititi hadn't framed this as some act of resistance, and if the cast and crew (most of whom i love) weren't capable of doing better. clearly, this is something deeply personal to taika, and it's pretty shit when something you're passionate about goes tits up. but it just would have been nice if the first academy award awarded to an indigenous director had been for something that wasn't functionally damage control pr for nazis

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