Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler dramedy was adapted well for the screen. However, the satire was lost when the dramatic notes and impending dread overpowered the humour, causing it to drag on to make an anti-nazi propaganda film.
The best part of this film was Taika Waititi’s ability to embody the most ridiculous version of Hitler in Jojo’s imagination. He used him at opportune moments to create doubt in young Jojo’s mind.
Roman Griffin Davis is an absolute dream in this and holds one of my favourite young performances to date. Davis came out swinging in the first 5 minutes of the film and he had such power in his delivery. His conversations with imaginary Hitler were hilarious and towards the end those conversations became more detrimental to his character growth. Davis also had wonderful chemistry with Thomasin McKenzie, who gave a beautiful performance as Elsa Korr. The true heart of this movie was their hidden friendship and what young Jojo learned throughout this film.
The rest of the supporting cast added much to the story, especially Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson. They both did wonderful jobs portraying the Captain and Jojo’s mother. Johansson was lively as Rosie Betzler and brought such a whimsical nature to the film to counter Davis’ harshness of being Nazi minded.
This film can be interpreted in many ways and one of those ways is to compare it to the segregation the world faces today. The same slurs that were used against the Jewish people, can be interpreted as the same derogatory words used towards any group of minorities. The imaginary Hitler can be interpreted as years and years of systemic conditioning, slowly being torn down by the younger generations. Yes, it’s a film about World War 2 and we have seen so many of them but this one is something special.