Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Updated: Jan 4
So this has had some mixed reviews and I can see why. Anyone who’s watched the trailer and isn’t caught a little off guard by the sight of a jovial Hitler... well surely those people don’t exist anymore (fuck, if only). Anyway it’s clearly meant as offbeat satire, something that director Taika Waititi is known for and known to be fantastic at (What We Do in the Shadows). It is funny “Get together kids, it’s time to burn some books”... but really not nearly as funny as it needs to be to get away with this kind of humour. Mel Brooks’ Hitler in The Producers was funny, an out an out piss-take, but here the comedy doesn’t seem quite farcical enough. For every “We have a job for you walking the clones”, there’s people hanging in the town square and Jews hiding for their lives. It’s a really odd balancing act. I’m not going to slate it, I think it tries really hard to poke fun, but it’s just a really difficult subject to have fun with, especially when the story is told through the eyes of a member of the nazi youth clinging on wilfully to his indoctrination. It’s an odd mix between the Diary of Anne Frank and Moonrise Kingdom, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, laugh a little and find it interesting. Sam Rockwell is pretty great, Scarlett Johansson is good as the closest thing to an anchor and voice of reason against nazi propaganda, Rebel Wilson though is a bit annoying. For me however, it’s Archie Yates as ‘Yorki’ who steals the show, the young side character is utterly disarming in every scene he graces and along with Rockwell provides many of the best comedy moments. There are some genuinely great lines “There are no weak Jews, I’m descended from those who wrestle angels and kill giants, we were chosen by god, you were chosen by a pathetic little man who can’t even grow a full moustache”, but I’m really not sure what to make of it and might need to watch it again. The scenes between the two young leads are intriguing and offer the most depth as the nazi gets an education he doesn’t realise he needs. A visit from the Gestapo is a shocking leveller though amongst the frivolity and again makes the humour feel oddly misplaced. Some will love this and quite understandably so, others will feel uncomfortable, but regardless I think it’s a must see film... probably more than once, if only just to see Hitler kicked through a window.