Sunday, 5 January 2020

Review: Jojo Rabbit (second-pass)

Jojo Rabbit
Cert: 12A / 108 mins / Dir. Taika Waititi / Trailer

Like most movies with a comedic element, Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit isn't as funny the second time around. Having already watched the film, knowing the rhythm of the setups telegraphs the punchlines somewhat, lending a reassuring familiarity which removes the element of surprise that made them so resonant to begin with. The guffaws still sounded around the auditorium, but my own had been replaced with throaty chuckles, wry smiles and a deeper appreciation of the film's raw, heartbreaking and unflinchingly savage beauty.

The central performances from Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie stand out just as strongly, but a closer examination shows Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell to be on absolute awards-worthy form here; a duetting-masterclass in physical emotive acting and piercing subtext, made all the more weighty with the knowledge of where the movie is headed. Tragedy is sewn into every frame by cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr, in a lesson about seeing simple beauty in the darkest of times without ever ignoring those horrors which surround. It's a story about childhood, trust, indoctrination, questioning what we see around us and knowing truth when it's staring us in the face.

This is all projected through the liberal-lens of 2020 of course, but then it's a movie made for a 2020 audience. Even documentary footage can be subjective in its framing, Jojo Rabbit wears its colours defiantly and with good reason. A tale in a vintage setting which will never get old, yet has arrived at just the right time. Since the official UK release date is January 1st, this is your film-of-the-year, right here.

I didn't laugh as much the second time I watched Jojo Rabbit.
Cried more, though...

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
The Way, Way Back, The Book Thief, The Death Of Stalin.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
That's entirely likely.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That depends how wrong your opinion is.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Going to say no, although I'm still thinking there's one buried in the mix when Yorki blows up that doorway.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: This film's orchestral score was by the bloke who did the music for Rogue One.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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