This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Cineduck19’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
World War II, the greatest tragedy of humanity, not funny. Holacoust, not funny, Nazis, not funny. Jews suffering and being denied humanity, definitely not funny. Hitler, one of the most evil rulers in history is extremely messed up and there is nothing funny or comedic about that. But in this movie, every single one of these things except for the Holacoust is hilarious.
So what do you get when you mix Taika Wattiti with World War II Germany? The answer, is satirical gold.
I don't know how a movie with Nazis can be funny and how Hitler could be turned into a hilarious best friend and be one of the best movies of 2019 and one of the most comedic movies of the decade. The answer is, it shouldn't. Seriously this movie should not work in any way and it does in every way and goes above and beyond and you've really got to give it credit for that. Seriously the scenes with Jojo talking about how inhuman Jews are is hilarious and the Nazi investigation scene is full of tension that is hilariously let down as well as making Hail Hitler funny. Jojo Rabbit is hilarious, light hearted, super satirical but surprisingly really emotional.
Every single character is oozing with personality and despite the fact that some of them have messed up beliefs, they are all extremely lovable and that's saying a lot judging that they're Nazis, Nazis! Jew murdering bastards that we can actually root for? Taika Wattiti deserves so much credit for this movie. Now, Jojo the main character is a little demon with the things he says about jews, like seriously he would kill to meet Hitler at the beginning but once he discovers a hidden Jew and bonds with them, he starts to unravel the truth of Jews, the war, his own idol, and humanity in general and there is an epic shot towards the end that encompasses all that. He learns to be the rabbit after being mocked as one in the beginning, hence the title.
Jojo also has amazing chemistry with pretty much the entire supporting cast like with his quirky anti-Nazi mother played by Scar Jo or with his Army Captain boss played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell who has a delightfully devilish assistant in Rebel Wilson, or his fat best friend who is a joy to watch whenever he is on screen. He's such a joy to watch with Jojo. There's also Elsa who plays off Jojo really well as his greatest fear. And then there is Hitler or Jojos imaginary bestie.
Taika Watiti as Hitler is the exact reason why this movie should not work. He is so funny, so childish, so evil like the real life Hitler was, yet so supportive and shows who Hitler truly was to do the things that he did, a narcacistic clown who is evil and delusional. Damn this old rich Orange guy in D.C. is a lot more like Hitler than I thought.
Watiti clearly took a lot of inspiration from Wes Anderson because he really makes effective use of the Tableau shot, like some of the shots are so Wes Anderson but I also love how he took some of Edgar Wright's style editing too. But what really surprised me was how emotional he was able to make the third act. Spoiler alert, Scar Jo is hung and it really takes the movie in a darker direction as Jojo learns the truth about Nazis and about Jews and by the final war scene, he really comes to learn that he has to be better than the Nazis and it's so epic to see unfold. It is kind of an abrupt shift and I really felt the sudden change but it elevated the third act to real emotional highs that are paid off perfectly even though everything Jojo once loved was being destroyed. It really got serious there but we did see a glimpse of what Watiti could do with balancing comedy and emotional moments in Thor Ragnarok which was one of the best MCU movies, but here, he perfected the art.
Overall, Jojo Rabbit is one of the best films of 2019 that has great characters, truly satirical plot that maybe is a little similar to The Boy in Striped Pajamas , and a perfect balance between comedy and serious moments. Despite a small inconsistency, it is damn well nearly a masterpiece and I'm gonna quote a good friend from back home on this one but how is a movie about a fictional guy who terrorizes people dressed like a clown make people lose their minds but not a movie about a boy whose imaginary best friend is Hitler? I don't know, it should not be good, but it's fantastic.