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November 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm #1203174866
Didn’t like this film much at all. The satire didn’t land well, and the tone was excessively twee and weird. Bad German accents. The kids weren’t good. Scarlett was miscast, which is painful to say given her brilliant turn in “Marriage Story.” I was hoping for longshot double Oscar nods this year to make up for all of her past, unfortunate snubs. I don’t know what to make of Sam Rockwell here or the bizarre acting choices he was making. I did like Thomasin McKenzie, so silver linings, I guess. She should have been nominated for “Leave No Trace.” Huge talent, so I think her time is coming soon enough. This could all fall on Taika Waititi’s feet for his amateurish directorial choices, but then he gave himself a prime acting showcase as “Adolf.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him in all of his scenes. I certainly felt some Christoph Waltz teas (the first one, NOT the second). Supporting actor would be an easy place to reward the film if the Academy really is taken with it. Besides maybe Waititi, I wouldn’t give this dreadful film much of any other Oscar nominations.
Sorry to hear you weren’t a fan. As a big fan myself, I can easily understand why some people don’t like it. I do find your thoughts on Taika’s performance to be very interesting though. If there was one thing I thought people who disliked the film would agree on, it’s that they didn’t like “Adolf”. While I disagree with your overall thought on Jojo Rabbit, I do agree that my eyes were constantly on Waititi throughout. There’s something strangely engaging about him.November 11, 2019 at 2:40 pm #1203175030
And here it is, my review for Jojo Rabbit. Holy crap did I love this movie! Even more than I expected! This is the second near-perfect film in a row that I’ve seen in this blessed 2nd half of 2019. And once again, it’s the story where this film really shines. This is my second favorite screenplay of the year after Parasite. I knew it would be great after I read the old draft from 2012, but it’s even better now than it was then. There are some sequences that are much better this time around, especially Jojo’s final scene with Hitler.
I guess I can see why cinephiles and some critics don’t like Jojo Rabbit. It’s not a very deep or metaphor rich story, and there aren’t any really big twists or turns. It’s not even as ambitious as it’s high-concept premise would suggest. But it is a very heartwarming and surprisingly heavy story, much more heavy than I expected it to be. And there is a really big gut-punch moment at the end of the second act that caught everyone in my theater by surprise. Jojo Rabbit’s biggest accomplishment is seamlessly shifting between biting satire and touching drama at the blink of a hat, and not feeling jarring at all! Taika Waititi puts a gag where Jojo has to Heil Hitler 5 different Gestapo officers in a row while they are searching for a Jew in his house, and it works.
The story works best when we get to see the dynamic between Jojo and Elsa, because in these sequences it subverts the typical holocaust story. Usually it’s the person hiding the Jew who’s in power, but in this film it’s the opposite. Instead of being constantly scared for her life, Elsa manages to find humor where she can through her interactions with Jojo, which provide some of the film’s funniest moments. And even when the Gestapo are searching her, she’s taking part in the action through the disguise of Jojo’s sister.
Like the first half of Parasite, Jojo Rabbit lays out all of the pieces of the puzzle for us before significant events happen, so we can figure it out in advance. For example, when Captain Klenzendorf arrives at Jojo’s house, we see that he was riding Rosie’s bike, a hint that he is actually there to protect him and Elsa. And when Elsa cries while Jojo is reading the letter to her, it’s because she knows Nathan is dead, not because Jojo fooled her. There’s also nice little moments of payoff in the film, such as Captain K’s costume, Jojo tying Elsa’s shoes, and of course the Hitler kick.
I said before that Parasite was probably my favorite cast of 2019. Now it has some really stiff competition. The best actors in this film are actually it’s youngest ones. Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKensie are both fantastic in this film: they steal most of the scenes they’re in and have great chemistry with each other when they’re together. Archie Yates steals the rest of this film’s scenes: he has some of the biggest belly laugh moments in the whole film. Sam Rockwell is my favorite adult performance in the film (sorry Cordelia). His demoralized personality is a nice foil to the other Nazi’s blind idealism, and his redemption arc is done slowly and with greta care. I actually felt quite sorry for him by the end of the film. (Side note, I watched Hogan’s Heroes recently, another Nazi satire, and one of the main characters in that was another Captain K- Captain Klink. Coincidence? I think not!) Scarlett Johansson and Taika Waititi are good too, though I wasn’t as crazy about them as the other actors a mentioned. And Stephen Merchant is great in his very limited screentime.
The Cinematography of this film is excellent. I think this year is way too stacked for Jojo to break into Best Cinematography, but it would be very deserving. Just as Oscar worthy is Jojo’s editing. This is the best edited film of the year so far. Not only are there so many well-edited sequences (especially the war camp and city invasion scenes), but they also do the same thing as BlackkKlansman where they intercut footage from the film with real life footage of German youth celebrating Hitler, an effective way to get their point across. The score, sound editing, production design, and costume design are all great too.
As I said before, there’s barely anything I really didn’t like about this film except for minor nitpicks, like the fact that not all of the humor landed, or that Alfie Alan’s character only exists to be Captain K’s boyfriend. Overall though, another great movie in 2019. I’m wondering when the stinkers are going to start to hit, because everything I’ve seen since Joker has been either really good or stellar.
Stream After Hours and In Your Eyes (Remix)November 11, 2019 at 3:45 pm #1203175127
And here it is, my review for Jojo Rabbit. Holy crap did I love this movie! Even more than I expected! This is the second near-perfect film in a row that I’ve seen in this blessed 2nd half of 2019. Final rating
As a famous singer said, "ain't nobody gonna Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher!"
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