JoJo Rabbit Review
Dan Skip Allen
JoJo Rabbit is the latest film from Tiaka Waititi. The director of such films as What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt For the Wilderpeople. It wasn’t until he joined the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with Thor: Ragnarok did people start noticing his work. His style is a comedic style of film making. He likes to make you laugh. With his older films he achieved this very well. With JoJo Rabbit he adds to his resume and maybe even exceeds all his previous films put together.
JoJo is a little 10 year old boy portrayed by Roman Griffin Davis. He belongs to a Hitler Youth Group. He idolizes Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s. So much so that he has an imaginary friend of Adolph Hitler. He gives JoJo advise. Sometimes detrimental advice. Enough so where he gets picked on and almost kills himself garnering the nickname JoJo Rabbit. Because he was a scared little Rabbit. Through all of this his mother still loves him. Scarlet Johansson portrays Rosie, Jojo’s mother. She has a great attitude during this tough time. Especially for her son and his new friend Elsie portrayed by Thomason Mackenzie.
Waititi hasn’t usually been known for his political stance but JoJo Rabbit is a political message. It uses the guise of WW2, Nazis, Jews and Hitler and spins them into a film about the US Government and the middle east, Donald Trump and gun control. He does this perfectly. The messages of this film hit me over the head like a sledgehammer. For a foreign director to go out on a limb like this and get this so right deserves a round of applause. It makes total sense that it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It is going to be a force to be reckoned with come awards season.
As kids we have a belief system differently then we do as adults. We believe in people and ideals. JoJo really had a change of heart during the course of this film. He believes in Adolf Hitler so much that he never thought it was wrong. I as a kid could relate because I had beliefs I had to let go of as I was growing older. Life is bigger and brighter when your a kid but when you get older it just seems normal and regular. Your mind plays tricks on you. Life gets harder as you grow older and you become more jaded. Waititi used the perfect conduit for his film he made the main character, a little 10 year old boy.
Waititi adds some comedic character actors to the film to round out this terrific film. Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson & Steven Merchant portray various members of the Nazi regime. They are all hilarious and add a fun element in a rather serious film and story. They know what they needed to do to make this film a little more lighthearted. And so did Waititi when he cast them. Everyone worked well in the perspective roles. I smiled whenever any of the spoke throughout the film.
I was sceptical about this film before I saw it. I was very surprised it won the Grand Jury award at TIFF. I am here to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this film. The messages it talks about are what we need more of in this country. This is a great film. I employ everyone to go out and see this fantastic film. It’s great!
4 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen