Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson and Taika Waititi
Is Taika Waititi one of the best, most recognizable auteurs in cinema today?
With What We Do in the Shadows (2014) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) giving way to the big budgeted Thor: Ragnarok (2017), I would holler a resounding “Yes!” And Jojo Rabbit is no exception.
This complicated, funny film is Waititi’s through and through, so much so that he inhabits every scene, even the scenes where he isn’t prancing about with that silly little mustache. Because yes: the director plays Hitler. And Waititi’s Hitler lives in the mind of young JoJo, portrayed magnificently by newcomer Roman Griffin Davis.
JoJo is what we can only hope most Nazi youth were like during the Third Reich: an indoctrinated mass of ignorance with no chance of knowing right from wrong. Slowly and tenderly, however, right and wrong invade Jojo’s mind via his mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) and Captain Klenzendorf (a role in which Sam Rockwell shines!)
Though comedy is the dominant tone in this film, the inevitable darkness and drama of WWII encroach upon the heart of this coming-of-age masterpiece. A beautiful and suspenseful third act pulls at us with all types of emotions, making for what is Taika Waititi’s best film. And that is saying a lot.
If What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople were both a B+, and his amazing ode to Jack Kirby, Thor: Ragnarok, was a A-, then Jojo Rabbit is an A!