Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi's risky, childlike comedy about a Hitler Youth member

Trending Now

Send us your questions for Peter Murphy

The Bauhaus frontman will field your enquiries in a future issue of Uncut

Introducing the new issue of Uncut

GETTING YOUR COPY OF THIS MONTH'S UNCUT DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR IS EASY AND HASSLE FREE - CLICK...

The 3rd Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2021

Ryley Walker, Rose City Band, Hand Habits, Esther Rose, Richard Barbieri and more

Introducing the Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Bob Marley

In-depths reviews and archive encounters with the reggae legend

Playing Adolf Hitler in a comedy requires nerve. In his latest film as writer, director and actor, Taika Waititi stars as the dictator, portrayed here as the buffoonish imaginary best friend of 10-year-old Hitler Youth member Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis).

It’s not the first time filmmakers have wanted us to laugh at the Führer – from Chaplin and the Three Stooges to Mel Brooks. But Waititi’s version is breathtakingly risky, portraying Hitler and other (fictional) Nazis in the broadest possible terms. But critical to appreciating how this “anti-hate satire” works is the understanding that this is all filmed from the perspective of Jojo himself. The intentionally immature setup dominates Jojo Rabbit, though Waititi – whose previous films include Thor: Ragnarok – finds weirdly sentimental pauses along the way.

Jojo recently lost his sister to influenza and his father to the war. He lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) and is, he admits, “massively into swastikas”. Jojo, though, isn’t exactly soldier material and after suffering a serious injury he is sent home. There he encounters Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), a Jewish girl hiding in his attic crawlspace. His instinct is to tell the authorities, but instead they become unlikely friends.

Advertisement

Like Waititi’s earlier The Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Jojo Rabbit could be described as a kids’ film for adults, since it deals in naivety, in a world that’s childlike as opposed to childish. The two talented young leads are the main reason this all pays off in the end, but the film’s shrewdly cast supporting players – notably Sam Rockwell’s shabby Captain Klenzendorf – add substance and depth in the meantime. Wes Anderson is a good reference point; Waititi’s film is saturated in a similar aesthetic and tone.

Advertisement

Latest Issue

The Who, New York Dolls, Fugazi, Peggy Seeger, Scritti Politti, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Israel Nash and Valerie June
Advertisement

Features

Advertisement