Taika Waititi stars as a child's imagined version of Adolf Hitler in this anti-hate satire.
Indie filmmaker Taika Waititi is known for his quirky comedies and boundary-pushing sense of humour; but with his Nazi anti-hate satire Jojo Rabbit, he takes his signature wit to a whole new level.
The film is set in Germany during World War II and stars Roman Griffin Davis as 10-year-old Jojo, who trains with the Hitler Youth camp - run by Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson) - and idolises Adolf Hitler, who appears to him as his imaginary friend (played by Waititi).
Jojo's world is turned upside down when he finds out his mother, a secret anti-Nazi rebel named Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), has hidden a Jew named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in the house. Jojo and Elsa develop a friendship and the boy begins to question his whole belief system.
Jojo Rabbit is quite a divisive project - some will love it and others will hate it. Creating a comedy surrounding Hitler and Nazi Germany could seem insensitive and in poor taste but it was handled very well.
Waititi has managed to strike the right tone and find the perfect balance between comedy and drama. It is smart and very funny but also knows when to be quiet and emotional.
The screenplay is filled with wit and humour and some laugh-out-loud moments. It was also a masterstroke having Hitler appear as an imaginary friend, as that meant Waititi could have complete freedom and make him super silly.
All the levity just makes the sad ending even more surprising and moving because you don't expect this frivolous bit of fun to be hard-hitting out of nowhere.
The cast - which also includes Stephen Merchant and Alfie Allen - were all on top comedy form, but the standout was Jojo himself.
Newcomer Davis is a talented boy and such a natural, likeable lead.
His hilarious best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) gets the most laughs, as does Rockwell.
It was lovely to see Johansson doing something so different and playing such a quirky character too, while Waititi did a fantastic job portraying Hitler as a silly caricature.
It made sense having him play the controversial dictator considering he wrote the character himself.
Jojo Rabbit could have gone very wrong in less capable hands but Waititi has managed to create a funny, entertaining, and surprising piece of cinema.
© Cover Media