Jojo Rabbit Review: A hard-hitting, anti-hate, political-satire that is both poignant and sharp
Film: Jojo Rabbit
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Thomasin McKenzie
Director: Taika Waititi
Rating: 4 Moons
Charming as it gets, Jojo Rabbit is one of the most graceful ways one could possibly present a political satire. Unexpected and utterly refreshing but a cinematic risk, Taika Waititi's comedy-drama around a 10-year-old Nazi and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler himself, and the punching reality during World War 2 is a welcome change to the commercial cinema.
While we’re still reeling from all the emotions this film made us feel, we reckon there could not have possibly been a better way to juxtaposition such dark horrors and stark details in the light of humor.
Ten-year-old Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis), also known as Jojo, is a pro-Nazi kid; his imaginary best-friend/father-figure is none other than the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi) himself! Sent into a Jung-folk training camp with other young kids in times of need, Jojo gets bullied by his supervisor Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) for not being able to kill an innocent rabbit; thereby getting the adorable nickname, Jojo Rabbit, metaphorically calling him 'not brave'.
On returning home, Jojo discovers his mom, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a young Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in the attic. The film then explores their blooming-friendship, Jojo's changing views about the Jews, the horrors of Nazi-led society in the war and keeping up with the expectations of his Fuhrer and father-like-friend, Hitler.
The story dives into the realities of the time and how the horrors in society stole every one of the naiveté and essence of life. Sending 10 year-olds to training camps, handing them pistols, asking them about their political views, offering them life advice and cigarettes... all of these adult situations were satirically inflicted on a little boy, showing the desperate times of that-day Germany. The way Jojo hated Jews initially shows how society was conditioned to believe a lot of things that weren’t actually true. Roman’s performance in this film is most definitely refreshing as it is surprising. I mean a naive, little boy confidently debating with Hitler, can you imagine?
His mother Rosie, who later is known to be a part of the anti-Nazi 'Free Germany Movement', makes sure she doesn't inflict her views on her son by influencing him to believe something he doesn't want to since he was a pro-Nazi. A single-parent, having lost her daughter and her husband, Rosie gives refuge to a Jewish girl in secret to fill in the void. Playing the perfect tragic-comic character, Scarlett Johansson's performance is the one to watch out for!
Owing to the minute details in the film, including Scar Jo's accent, the fuss over knife given to the kids at the training camp, the unexpected check on families, sending kids to warfare camps, the blind-hate while treating Jews as if they were aliens or a completely different species, the little details give us a reality check and then instantly burst our bubble with a comic pin as if to say, “Wait, were you serious?”
The cinematography is rather simple, ensuring certain dramatic revelations while capturing the rest of the chaos beautifully. Adding color to the bleak World War 2 society, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. has done a wonderful job at presenting Waititi's comical vision on the screen. The score includes a Beatles song in German, turning the whole war camp zone into an exciting Beatle-mania!
Making us cry, cringe, laugh at various times, the movie leaves you with an unsettling-yet-happy feeling in the tummy. Perhaps the most light-hearted way to present such a heavy subject, Jojo Rabbit is a little something of a cinematic experience that you shouldn't miss.
'What did they do?' What they could. Taika Waititi, take a bow!
PeepingMoon gives 'Jojo Rabbit' 4 Moons
( Source: PeepingMoon)