JOJO RABBIT (12)
D: Taika Waititi
Fox Searchlight/TSG/Defender/Piki (Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal & Chelsea Winstanley)
US/New Zealand 2019
W: Taika Waititi [based on the novel "Caging Skies" by Christine Leunens]
DP: Mihai Malaimare, Jr.
Ed: Tom Eagles
Mus: Michael Giacchino
PD: Ra Vincent
Roman Griffin Davis (Johannes 'Jojo' Betzler), Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa Korr), Scarlett Johansson (Rosie Betzler), Sam Rockwell (Capt. Klenzendorf), Rebel Wilson (Fräulein Rahm), Alfie Allen (Finkel), Taika Waititi (Adolf Hitler)
Written and directed by Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit is a satirical black comedy set in WWII Germany, starring Roman Griffin Davis as the titular character, a ten-year old boy who idolises Adolf Hitler, and even has the Führer as an imaginary friend.
A member of Hitler's Youth (a Nazi version of the Boy Scouts), but teased for being a coward, Jojo discovers a young Jewish girl hiding in the attic crawl space and faces a moral dilemma over whether or not to turn her in, as his mother may face persecution for allowing it to happen.
Though the subject matter is incredibly serious, Waititi does an excellent job in making this film not just fun and amusing, but absolutely hilarious, without succumbing to bad taste gags or obscene humour.
Roman Griffin Davis, making his film debut, makes a superb breakthrough performance, whilst Thomasin McKenzie and Scarlett Johansson are also excellent.
There are a few moments where it gets a little too absurd, but this can be forgiven considering some of the film's darkest moments, which serve as a stark reminder that the Holocaust really isn't a laughing matter.
Not quite as principled as Charlie Chaplin's 1940 classic The Great Dictator, nor as outrageously zany as Mel Brooks' The Producers, Jojo Rabbit straddles the line between both, just as it does between comedy & tragedy.
Maybe it feels wrong finding a film with subject matter such as this so funny, but full credit has to be given to Taika Waititi for making it so.