Saturday, February 8, 2020

Stubs - Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit (2019) Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson Directed by Taika Waititi. Screenplay by Taika Waititi Based on Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. Produced by Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley Run time: 108 minutes USA Comedy, Drama, War, World War II

While Nazi Germany might seem like an odd backdrop for a comedy, Jojo Rabbit, the latest film from Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Rangnarok, manages to pull it off so well that the film received several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture (Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi) ; Best Supporting Actress (Scarlett Johansson); Best Adapted Screenplay (Taika Waititi); Best Production Design (Ra Vincent and Nora Sopková); Best Costume Design (Mayes C. Rubeo); and Best Film Editing (Tom Eagles).

Jojo's (Roman Griffin Davis) imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi)/

The story surrounds Johannes "Jojo Rabbit" Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), a devout member of the Hitler Youths, whose best friend happens to be an imaginary Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). But Jojo, as he's called, isn't meant to kill, which leads to his being ridiculed in the weekend camp he attends. Back home, recuperating from injuries he suffers in a hand grenade accident, he learns that his mother, Rosie, (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie), in their attic.

Scarlett Johansson plays Jojo's mother Rosie.

Jojo Rabbit manages to be both truthful to the times and still be, for the most part, very funny. This speaks well of the screenplay and the direction, both by Waititi. While the writing is strong, the acting is what really carries the film. Davis is a very good child actor torn between devotion to a cause and love. McKenzie's Elsa is both strong and vulnerable, a difficult tandem to pull off. Johansson has already been nominated for her role as Rosie, the mother of a devout Nazi who at the same time is anti-Hitler herself. Taika Waititi's depiction of Hitler is perhaps the funniest since Dick Shawn in The Producers (1967).

Jojo is caught between his devotion to Hitler and his love for Elsa Korr
(Thomasin McKenzie), a Jewish girl he finds his mother is hiding.

The film is further helped along by some very good supporting comedic turns, including Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf, the Army Officer in charge of the Youth Camp; Rebel Wilson as Fräulein Rahm, an instructor in the camp; Stephen Merchant as Deertz, a Gestapo agent; and Archie Yates as Yorki, Jojo's second best friend.

In addition to the score written by Michael Giacchino, Jojo Rabbit also uses two non-period songs to bookend the film: "Komm, gib mir deine Hand", a German version of their hit, "I Want To Hold Your Hand", recorded by The Beatles in 1963, and David Bowie's German-language version of his hit "Heroes", "Helden".

While I really enjoyed the film, even more than I thought I would, I'm pretty sure that the film will be overlooked in most of the major categories in the upcoming Academy Awards. Jojo Rabbit is really very good, but it doesn't feel to me like Best Picture worthy. However, if you're looking for a unique comedy, with very good acting, then I would highly recommend this film.

No comments:

Post a Comment