brian-mcgee - September 4, 2019
Following the film's first trailer, I was on board for whatever Taika Waititi had in store for us with Jojo Rabbit. With that same eager excitement, I watched the film's latest trailer, and just prior to the one minute mark, things take a turn into territory that most mainstream comedy films would avoid.
Before that, the film seems like a wacky comedy where a young boy in World War II-era Germany joins the Hitler Youth and also has Hitler as an imaginary friend, played by writer/director Waititi. There's a German cover of "I'm a Believer," Sam Rockwell doing his charming bad guy routine, Stephen Merchant looking like Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It just generally looks like a lot of fun.
Then Waititi reminds us that this was a dark, dark period in our history and sometimes great satire has to plunge into very dark territory. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, I'll leave you unspoiled heading into it, but this has only enhanced my excitement for the film. Perhaps the most exciting thing is that even when things take a dark turn, the mood remains heightened and the film still looks like it's going to be a great time, not a dour and depressing descent into the depths of the human soul. If the humor was absent, it wouldn't be proper satire.
Jojo Rabbit premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival later this month before rolling out to select theaters on October 18.
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