With quite easily the strangest premise of the year, Jojo Rabbit is an absolute delight. Set in Germany during the last few weeks of World War II, the story follows a young Nazi supporter named Jojo as he aspires to become a soldier in the war with the help of his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. Writer/Director Taika Waititi delivers a tasteful masterpiece that perfectly balances between silliness and serious with an emphasis on the silly; all while donning the mini mustache himself. It’s hard to believe that this project was able to make it out of the pre-production process to eventually become one of the best films of 2019. With a subject matter that’s about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender, Jo Jo Rabbit defies all logic.
I honestly can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this movie. Taika Waititi has quickly become one of my favorite directors in the last few years and this film is, in my opinion, his magnum opus. He somehow was able to twist the dark subject matter into a light-hearted satire that still moves you with genuine human emotion. While working in an administrative role for the Nazi army, Jojo discovers that his mother has been hiding a Jewish girl in their home. The story revolves around Jojo’s internal struggle between what he has been brainwashed to believe and his instinctual feelings.
The film features a cast of wonderful characters that all influence Jojo in one way or another. Scarlett Johansen plays Jojo’s strong, charismatic mother who tries desperately to inspire goodness into her boy. Taika plays Jojo’s imaginary friend, Adolf Hilter, who influences him towards hate and order. The constant internal battle between these two important influences in Jojo’s life is where the beautiful human element of this story comes from. It constantly pulls at your heartstrings and Taika has mastered the art of knowing when and when not to crack a joke.
The technical aspects of this film are nothing short of spectacular. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful and it was no surprise to me to learn after my viewing that the Cinematographer was the same person behind the camera for The Master (2012). Mihai Malaimare Jr is a master of his craft and I’m excited to see what else he will make in the future. The art direction for this film is wonderful and the meticulous care that was put into every frame pays off immensely. On top of having one of my favorite directors at the helm, one of the best cinematographers behind the lens, this film was also able to get the help of one of the best composers in the industry to handle the score, Michael Giacchino.
Like I said earlier, there isn’t really anything that I don’t like about this movie. It’s quite the breath of fresh air with all of the nonsense sequels and remakes that we’ve had in 2019. To be able to deliver a film nowadays that feels original and fresh is a rare talent. I’m sure we’ll see Taika Waititi’s talent develop for many years to come. This is a must-see movie of 2019, do not sleep on this film and make sure you absolutely see this in theaters.