Jojo Rabbit may end up being one of my 2020 favourites!
FILM REVIEW: JOJO RABBIT (12A), SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: ROMAN GRIFFIN DAVIS, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, THOMASIN McKENZIE, TAIKA WAITITI, SAM ROCKWELL, ALFIE ALLEN, REBEL WILSON & STEPHEN MERCHANT
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 48 MINS, DIRECTOR: TAIKA WAITITI
What a way to start the new decade!
The first movie I saw in 2020 may just end up being one of my favourites of the year. Having seen a couple of one-star reviews of the film – despite it getting plenty of BAFTA and Golden Globe love – it’s clear that not everyone shares my enthusiasm.
I get it. This satire takes on some serious issues during some serious times – so it’ll be a hard pill to swallow for many.
Plus, nothing splits a room more than a comedy – let alone one so controversial.
Personally, Jojo Rabbit was very much my sense of humour – as it was for most in my screening. It's been a long time since I've heard an audience respond to a movie so positively.
This hilarious coming-of-age film focuses around young Jojo Betzler (Golden Globe-nominated fledgling actor Roman Griffin Davis), who aspires to be a Nazi during the Second World War.
He is such a fanatic that his best (imaginary) friend is Hitler (Taika Waititi, who also directs as well as stars, like he did in Thor: Ragnorak) himself. Jojo enthusiastically joins the ranks of ‘true believers’ at a training camp run by Captain Klenzendorf (Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell) and Fraulein Rahm (Pitch Perfect’s Rebel Wilson) wanting to be the best.
Meanwhile, our protagonist’s mother, Rosie (Scarlett ‘Black Widow’ Johansson), is hiding a Jewish girl behind the walls of their home. When Jojo discovers this and begins to bond with the girl, he starts to question his beliefs – while I questioned my own morals due to laughing-out-loud throughout.
As well as playing the scene-stealing Hitler, film maker Waititi also combines the humour of two fantastic movies of his. It has moments of the subtlety found in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, while throwing in ‘goofy’ scenes that shone in his highly-acclaimed Thor film.
Certain moments may be too over-the-top for some, but once you get your head around the fact this is seen through the perspective of a ten-year-old, it's easier to just go with it.
What perhaps surprised me the most is that there are some genuinely moving moments too. You'll laugh, you'll cry and if you can get past the controversial backdrop – Jojo Rabbit will put a bounce in your step.
By Mikey Clarke
More by this authorSpalding Today Columnist