Imagine Hitler, not as the crazed genocidal maniac, but as a hilariously ridiculous imaginary friend that provides you with moral support as you join the ranks of your local Hitler Youth Training Camp. Hard to imagine? Not if you are Taika Waititi! Produced, Directed and Screenplay by Taika Waititi comes Jojo Rabbit, the must-see comedy release this year.
Starring and introducing Roman Griffin Davis as Johannes ‘Jojo’ Betzler, a 10 year old boy growing up in Nazi Germany during the later stages of World War II, struggling with his identity and duty as a Nazi to serve the furor. Living alone with his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), Jojo joins a Hitler Youth Training Camp with his good friend Yorki (Archie Yates). Unsure of what to expect, Jojo seeks the advice from his imaginary friend, Hitler (Taika Waititi). After a hilarious pep talk and confidence boost from Hitler, Jojo is ready to join the ranks. Under the direction of Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson), the young Nazi soldiers will learn the skills required to fight on the front lines.
With the idea that Jews are the worst things to ever exist, with this idea being drilled into young German minds, Jojo’s world is turned upside-down when he discovers a young Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) living in the walls of his home. Not knowing what to do, Jojo seeks advice from imaginary Hitler who immediately calls for her death. Despite this advice and Jojo’s growing curiosity, he ends up forming a beautiful bond with the supposed ‘enemy’.
The comedy writing is classic Taika, and Roman Griffin Davis, with scenes almost stolen by Archie Yates, are both brilliant in their debut performances. Their friendship and natural chemistry made their characters shine on-screen. Sam Rockwell is surprisingly endearing and brilliantly hilarious in his role as Captain Klenzendorf, whilst Rebel Wilson is unfortunately somewhat forgettable.
Aside from the brilliance of young Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi is a clear standout in this film. There is something special about his portrayal of the most horrific person in history that makes it truly memorable. I loved the way he twisted and dehumanized Hitler’s real life persona into a childish, hilarious imaginary friend. Taika Waititi had me in stitches each time Hitler was on screen.
Not only is this latest film from Taika Waititi a brilliant comedy hit, but also brings the very serious and devastating truths of war to the forefront. Jojo Rabbit very cleverly tells a dark story of loss, heartbreak and horrifying visuals of war though the innocent eyes of a child. A very clear reminder that the true cost of war is not just those that are lost on the battlefield, but those younger generations that follow after a war has ended.
Jojo Rabbit is a refreshingly hilarious and surprising film that also provides relevant harsh reality. If there is one holiday release you need to see, it is this one. Jojo Rabbit is in all good cinemas from Boxing Day.