Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit

2019 Ranked

The best thing I can say about Jojo Rabbit is that unlike THOR: RAGNAROK, which felt like it was cynically engineered by a corporate committee, Jojo Rabbit feels like something that was actually directed by a person. For better or for worse, this is very much a Taika Waititi film, and I have nearly no doubts that he made this “anti-hate satire” with the best of intentions. But there’s a big problem, and it shows throughout the entirety of the film’s runtime:

Taika Waititi has absolutely no fucking clue how to make a satire.

I’m sorry, but satire is not lowbrow humor that a nine year old could probably come up with. There is absolutely no intelligence or wit to be found here in terms of comedy. I understand that Jojo Rabbit is ultimately meant to be pro-love propaganda, but I don’t think it works given how surface-level and weightless the film mostly feels, and a very likely reason for that is because you have a filmmaker (granted, one who likely had good intentions) known for making amusing but ultimately toothless comedies attempting to make a film about *the Holocaust.* The tonal shifts might feel mostly balanced, but the *awful* excuses for comedy completely make the more dramatic scenes feel weightless, which is not good given the subject matter at hand, and it doesn’t help that the performances from both Taika Waititi and Rebel Wilson are unbearable. On top of that, the third act has these jarring plot developments that feel rushed and lack a proper payoff, and the film is not nearly as bold or provocative as it should be. Worst of all, it’s just dull.

And it’s a shame, because there are some decent performances here - Roman Griffin Davis and Scarlett Johansson are both adequate, but it’s Thomasin McKenzie (who gave a phenomenal performance in LEAVE NO TRACE) who shines here with an exceptional performance - and I could see this film, which is based on a more serious novel, working as a full on drama if handled by the right filmmaker. But Taika Waititi is unfortunately reaching far too beyond his creative grasp, as his style of comedy is completely incompatible with something like this.

In short, it’s (seemingly) well-intentioned, but ultimately a misguided and muddled misfire that mistakes lowbrow humor for clever satire and surface-level sentimentality for emotional depth, so it has a very good chance of winning Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.

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