Rob Reviews "Jojo Rabbit"
I feel like giving brands to things as “the greatest of all time” or “for the first time in history” or “redefining (whatever you are talking about)” is thrown around WAY too much in this day and age. To say something is happening for the first time in history and said history is less than a year old just wears me out. I try to not use phrases like that unless I am all-in and prepared to defend my position, but to say that Taika Waititi’s “JoJo Rabbit” redefines the dark comedy genre, I come armed for bear.
The only thing I can give as far as the plot goes here is that it is based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Luenens and is a coming-of-age story of 10-year-old JoJo (Roman Griffin Davis) in World War II Germany who has an imaginary friend that is Adolph Hitler (Waititi himself). Any other information I can give here would flirt with a one-way trip to Spoilerville, so any other information can be researched on its own.
Relying on solid source material (adapted for the screen by Waititi) to carry its story over brooding performances or graphic violence or images, “JoJo Rabbit” simply has it all for those that can handle its content. Davis delivers an absolutely superb performance as the title character from the opening scene where he is hyping himself up in the mirror as he heads to a weekend Youth Camp to his mannerisms and facial expressions that convey the EXACT emotion that JoJo is feeling at any given moment, while Scarlett Johansson adds to the emotion as his mother, who is dealing with a lot of her own issues that affect her family directly. Sam Rockwell is here (and that guy can do just about no wrong in my book) as well as “Game of Thrones” star Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, and Rebel Wilson (who does exactly what you expect her to do at this point) to round out a stellar cast that includes newcomers Thomasin McKenzie and Archie Yates.
Add to this Waititi’s gorgeous vision and his own performance that cannot be denied, and “Jojo Rabbit” seems like one of those films that stands up and demands to be noticed in awards season. Given its subject matter and how it deals with it, I don’t think it will get the widespread respect it deserves, but this is a film that hits everything on every level and may just be in my discussions of top films of 2019 when it is all said and done.