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Film review: Jojo Rabbit

‘Daring’: Sam Rockwell,
Scarlett Johansson and Roman
Griffin Davis star in the offbeat
comedy PICTURE: LARRY HORRICKS

REVIEW

Jojo Rabbit

(12A) ★★★★✩

RELEASED yesterday, Jojo Rabbit is one of the first films of 2020 — but is it one of the year’s best or worst? Provoking five-star and one-star reviews, this Oscar-tipped satire is one you’ll want to judge for yourself.

A wacky comedy set in Nazi Germany was always going to be a punchy move.

Our hero is Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a lonely ten-year-old boy whose only pal is his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (writer/director Taika Waititi). In Jojo’s mind, his adored Führer is a bit of a nincompoop, who jives to The Beatles and dines on unicorn.

A mustard-keen Hitler Youth scout mocked for his facial disfigurement, his world view is overturned when he finds out his beloved mother (Scarlett Johansson) is secretly sheltering a Jewish girl (the hauntingly talented Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic.

Elsewhere, Sam Rockwell delivers a bold turn as a seemingly fascistic officer who latterly commands our sympathies. And Alfie Allen, as his SS sidekick, lifts his career with his finest work to date.

Based on Christine Leunens’s book Caging Skies, this would seem an unlikely next feature from the Thor: Ragnarok director. But it strikes the same unique, off-beat humour as his debut, Hunt For The Wilderpeople.

It’s a breathtaking watch as you wonder how far Waititi will take the comedy and still keep us with him.

When the bubble of Nazi delusion finally bursts for Jojo, the impact is devastating. It’s a daring and chilling satire on the lies we’ll fool ourselves into accepting rather than confront ugly realities. Scary and timely. In cinemas nationwide