Samuel Schofield’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like you but human
JoJo Rabbit is the Nazi comedy-drama written, directed and starred in by Taika Waititi, I’ve put off watching this film for a while as I wasn’t sure a comedy about 6 million Jewish people dying would be for me. Ultimately I found what Waititi has done to be very clever even though it lacks sensitivity to an abhorrent time.
The screenplay is what I found most impressive about this film. It starts off being very over the top comedy which doesn’t miss the beats it’s aiming for and comes of very well, as the film progresses however Waititi shows true excellence with how he reduces the comedy and presents more serious dialogue. This is done so well to the point the film can deliver with great comedy and then still have scenes that break your heart minutes later. My only gripe the writing is I felt from scene to scene they often felt disconnected and lost fluidity unless it was the great scenes that took place in the child’s house.
JoJo Rabbits main character is a 10 year old boy, this picture would have been impossible to execute without finding the perfect actor for the role, it’s safe to say Roman Davies delivered a performance better than anyone could have imagined. At just 13 years old in his first feature role the performance is truly unprecedented for an actor of such little experience, he showed high levels dynamism and never seemed to let the film pass him by. Co-stars Thomasin McKenzie & Scarlett Johansson deliver sublime performances also with Sam Rockwell & Rebel Wilson rounding out a great ensemble.
What took me by surprise in JoJo Rabbit was the camera work. Having seen What We Do In The Shadows & Thor Ragnarok I never imagined to see such powerful and ultimately beautiful cinematography. Although some of it particularly towards the end comes across a little pretentious mostly what Waititi and cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr set out to do they accomplish brilliantly. Without spoiling anything the set up of the shoes is very high level film making and I found it to be very effective.
The subject matter of this film is obviously set around the Nazis and there misguided view of the Jewish people. The film makes countless jokes about these views often mentioning brain washing and having devil horns, although the jokes they make are well executed you can’t help but feel bad for finding the jokes funny whilst watching. Seeing characters say Heil Hitler! to one another comes across funny in the film but ultimately it terrorised millions and millions of people in the very real world. I think if Waititi wanted to make this film in the way he did I would have liked him to deliver a more powerful message, I feel as though he never earned the right to make the jokes he did however funny I found them.