Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★½

War in cinema can be a great many things. It can be a tool to further a political agenda as in the works of the Soviet Theorists. Or perhaps a means to explore the human condition as in the unapologetic anti-war subgenre. War can even give rise to superficial spectacle as in the pandering works of pseudo-patriotism we see in modern cinema today. But of all the different forms the idea of war can take in the medium of film, is absurd comedy one of them?

Enter Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit- A film that finds humour in the very real, very unhumourous Nazi Germany. Channelling the likes of Roberto Beningni as in Life is Beautiful, Waititi uses the backdrop of that which is desolate and cruel, to tell a very human, very relatable story of growth and compassion. A story that, like the quietly funny and boyishly charming cinema of Waititi, finds beauty and joy in the little things.

Waititi communicates this sense of immaturity maturely as a filmmaker with an interesting lens to frame his narrative. The decay, the coldness, and the overall chaos that's become visually synonymous with the genre of war are now absent in favour of bright colours and symmetry. It is through this quaint cinematography that truly allows us to view the world as seen by our protagonist, creating a unique perspective for its audience. A perspective that's, above all else, unafraid to embrace and represent accurately and stylistically, the misguided childishness of youth. Or more specifically, the misguided childishness of member of the Hitler Youth.

Though I won't call Jojo Rabbit a film on the same level as Life is Beautiful, it is a film that blends the element of comedy in the extremely contrasting genre of war fairly well. And even if Waititi's filmmaking still seems, at times, like a second-rate Wes Anderson, the fact that he could make a film like this and sell it without being even remotely vulgar or disrespectful should be a testament to his craft and eye for genuine storytelling.