Playing Hitler for laughs can be a risky proposition, but the off-beat quirkiness of writer / director Taika Waititi is perfectly suited for the gamble.
Waititi is the New Zealand filmmaker who made Thor: Ragnarok a smash, but his style was honed on smaller oddball indies with clever laughs (What We Do In The Shadows) and heart-tugging sentiment (Hunt for the Wilderpeople). He returns to those roots (while leaning heavily into a Wes Anderson vibe) in Jojo Rabbit, a World War II set fable with a playful edge of satire and, most likely, an undercurrent of poignancy.
A young German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has an imaginary friend…who just so happens to be Hitler (Waititi). That “friendship” takes an interesting turn when the boy’s mother (Scarlett Johansson) takes in a teenage girl (presumably Jewish) and hides her in their attic (played by Thomasin McKenzie, who gave a breakout performance in last year’s Leave No Trace).
Based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens, expect Jojo Rabbit to take direct aim at the hot-button topic of nationalism. It co-stars Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell.
Jojo Rabbit will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, open in limited release on October 18, and then gradually expand throughout the end of 2019.
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