Tony's Take

JOJO RABBIT review

An Anti-Hate Satire

The incomparable Taika Waititi delivers his fiercest, ferociously-funny offering yet in the charming “Jojo Rabbit”.  Following the life of young ten year old Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), the film takes place in Nazi Germany towards the end of the Second World War; and his imaginary friend just happens to be Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi).  In-love with the Nazis and the Third Reich, young Jojo more than anything wants to be a part of Hitler’s Youth.  After an unfortunate accident involving a grenade, Jojo finds himself out of Hitler’s youth and yearning for more.  After frightfully discovering that his mom (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish woman (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic, he questions both Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and his associates what to do and what would happen if someone discovered a Jew being hidden.  As his loyalty comes into question, he finds himself in a battle of morality.  With the War looking increasingly doomed, Jojo soon questions his true beliefs as all that he has ever know seems to look wrong.

Hollywood has lost its edge.  Most of the comedies that are released these days struggle to “go there”.  Well make no mistake, “Jojo Rabbit” and its satire absolutely pushes the boundaries as it delivers laugh-after-laugh.  Though I was hoping for a bit more, it pushes the envelope much more than any other comedy in recent memory.  It truly is remarkable how emotional and heartfelt the film comes across, especially dealing with the incredibly-touchy and difficult subject matter it revolves around.  Numerous jokes are made at the expense of both the Nazi way and how they viewed the Jewish religion, but they are dealt with artfully and with plenty of satire.  The film is anchored by the two strong youngsters Davis and McKenzie, and they are absolutely fantastic as they command the screen, but each scene is stolen by the hilarious and witty Waititi as Hitler.  His mannerisms and charm make you feel twisted as you realize you’re enjoying the portrayal of one of the worst men in history.  Rockwell, Johansson, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant lead the film’s extended cast, each offering their own “shots” at Nazi Germany.

In a box office World that is dominated by political correctness, it is quite refreshing to see a film like “Jojo Rabbit” get the green-light.  At not only get made, but to be so powerful and heartfelt as well.  The film challenges you to view a dark period in World History in a new light, showcasing an idea that maybe not all of Nazi Germany believed in Hitler’s antics; and on more than one occasion we see true humanity triumph over evil.  It’s a film about inclusion and separating ourselves from hate.  It revolves around darkness but light is certainly present throughout.  The film will make you laugh out loud (repeatedly), cry, and cheer!  At 108 minutes, “Jojo Rabbit” speeds across the screen as it makes its way into your heart.  I implore you to go out of your comfort zone and experience Taika Waititi’s beautifully-crafted vision!

I was certainly not expecting the film to have such an emotional impact; both endearing and entertaining, “Jojo Rabbit” is an absolute triumph of cinema! 

4/5   

JOJO RABBIT is rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, and language, in theaters NOVEMBER 1ST!