Dir. Taika Waititi
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“You're not a Nazi, Jojo. You're a ten-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform…”
World War II really wasn’t a laughing matter but Taika ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ Waititi somehow manages to deliver a superbly funny WW2 satire that tells the tale of lonely Hitler Youth enthusiast Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). Jojo lives with his wildly independent single mother (Scarlett Johansson) in Germany as the end of the war approaches – and he is aghast to find out his mum is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic.
"if you're Nazi and you know it - jump"
Jojo has a secret, an idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler himself no less (played by Waititi) – who stokes the young lad’s ideological indoctrination.
This comic Nazi-em-up might sound like being in poor taste but it goes full-throttle hilarious from the off and you’ll be caught up in the infectious madness before you know it. The premise is liable to make viewers uncomfortable as it makes fun of the horrific fascism, but the clever writing is spot on and makes lots of really good points about the horror of war.
"fabulous to the end"
Jojo earns his ‘Rabbit’ nickname due his unwillingness to kill a captured rabbit in front of his Hitler Youth troop. His gentle nature exposed gives an insight into how he is caught up in something that he can’t fully understand. The relationship between Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie is what gives the film such resonance. Real warmth and chemistry from their polar opposite positions leads to many wonderful comedic scenes. Johansson is great too and her ‘live free’ mentality is core to the message that we should all try to act on the right side of humanity – whatever the cost.
Waititi’s comic opus has echoes of Wes Anderson, Mel Brooks and Charlie Chaplin but also creates something entirely new and brilliant. His dedication to this project (he wrote and directed – as well as starring) is backed up by some superb cinematography and a great soundtrack.
All the cast go about the madness with gusto and quality supporting roles from Rockwell and Rebel Wilson are hilariously over the top. Special mention should go to newcomer Archie Yates who plays Jojo’s pal Yorkie as he gets some movie stealing scenes in his determination to be a good little Nazi.
Jojo Rabbit feels like a very timely film shining an important light on such a horrific time in human history and finding heartfelt humour in it.
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Best Nazi-em-up ever!)
Awesomeness ööööö – Audacious and brilliant scenes abound
Laughs ööööö – Really funny, will break you!
Horror ööö – Some grimness
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Where would you stand?
Want some more madness?
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...