Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Jojo Rabbit, 2019 - ★★★★

Thor Ragnarok's Taika Waititi directs this off-kilter satirical look at the end of World War II through the eyes of an impressionable 10-year-old who had an imaginary friend that just so happens to be Adolph Hitler. Newcomer Roman Griffin Davis plays Jojo, a young boy who enlists in a bootcamp for aspiring Nazis. After scarring his face during an accident in the camp, he is re-assigned to a Nazi office and helps with day-to-day activities while his Mother (Scarlett Johannson) helps raise him on her own thanks to her war-enlisted husband.

The cast in this film is fantastic highlighted by Davis' pure and real performance. Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) shows up mid-film as a Jewish teenager in hiding. Waititi himself portrays the imaginary Hitler character who starts out as a hysterical addition to the narrative but ends up growing a little thin at times towards the end of the movie. Thankfully the core of the film is the great chemistry between Davis and McKenzie. Just wait... within the next 10 years, McKenzie is going to win an Oscar. You heard it here first! She just has that special ingredient in her effortless acting ability that's going to vault her to A-list status at some point. Sam Rockwell (hilarious as always), Alfie Allen and Rebel Wilson round out the excellent ensemble cast as instructors at the Nazi youth camp.

We've heard a lot of the Nazi "Jew jokes" before in other films like Borat. They're over the top ridiculous characterizations that remind of us of just how narrow-minded Hitler and his followers were. Despite those re-used jabs, the humor in this movie is really well done and I can't wait to see what Taika does next (will he direct a new film before he helms the 4th Thor movie for the MCU?). This is a worthwhile comical take on Nazi propaganda and a brilliant showcase for two stellar young actors. I had a great time watching this film.

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