Ax on 'Flix

In this week's film pick, Axel reviews "Jojo Rabbit"

By Axel Marcenaro
On January 24, 2020

Axel Marcenaro, editor-in-chief

 

While trailers may have shown the film to be an outrageously insensitive comedy from the perspective of the Nazis, “Jojo Rabbit” proves to be a heartwarming tale of self-discovery and coming of age.

The film centers around a young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) who’s become a Nazi fanatic since his father has been away at war. He holds every ambition to join Germany’s ranks, but none of the ability, which is proved after he blows himself up at a Boy Scouts-like child training camp. His failure as a Nazi seems to be his greatest internal struggle until Jojo discovers his mother is sheltering a young Jewish girl in their attic.

“Jojo Rabbit” basically takes an extremely dark subject and in­puts ridiculous characters and situations to help the audience see both the seriousness and absurdity of war. The jokes are very “spoofy” and sometimes are a bit much, but they tend to find a laugh in the audi­ence’s childish side, which isn’t out of place since children are at the center of this film’s themes.

The film does take a lot of inspiration from Wes Anderson’s aesthetic, but feels crafted to a much lesser degree. Visually, there are shots right out of Anderson’s handbook being overly symmetrical, overly awkward and overly color-coordinated. Yet, “Jojo Rabbit” is missing the complexity and richness of detail that makes Anderson’s shots feel so enticing.

The film also hosts a few jokes reminiscent of an Anderson movie, but where Anderson would wittingly leave it subtle, director Taika Waititi continues, pushing it a bit over the top. This isn’t to say the film is done poorly, but that it follows more of a typical comedy’s approach with only hints of the artistic subtleties needed to truly push the film into something greater.

While, it may seem a bit controversial at first, the film holds some very stand-up themes about war, innocence and humanity. For ages, Nazis have been an easy target to label the bad guy in any movie. “Jojo Rabbit” does something daring when it decides to make Ger­mans the focal point of the story and show us how humans are on both sides of the war, how good people simply get caught in the crossfire and how innocent souls can be led astray when their questions are not answered truthfully.

A theme still relevant and necessary of consideration today.

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