Yes, Taika Waititi is a brilliant and quirky director. Not for everyone, but his track record of silliness speaks for itself. Based on Christine Leunen’s book Caging Skies, Waititi brings his silly style to the world of Nazi Youth Camps in his film, Jojo Rabbit. As you’d expect, the film starts with standard satirical Nazi nonsense but then punches you in the face at the end.
Our story takes place near the end of World War II. Young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is a ten-year-old boy, whose dream it is to become a great Nazi soldier and attending the Jungvolk (aka The Nazi Youth) would make perfect training. Now, the sheepish JoJo has confidence issues, but thanks to his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo musters the courage to go to the camp with his best friend, Yorki (Archie Yates).
“…a ten-year-old boy, whose dream it is to become a great Nazi soldier and attending the Jungvolk…”
This is a satire piece, and there’s quite a bit of silliness going on at the camp run by Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson). All the kids go through “basic training.” They run the obstacle course, learn to take orders, and shoot guns. Soon Jojo’s devotion is put to the test when confronted with the idea of killing. As a display of manhood, JoJo is ordered to kill a rabbit. He can’t and is now bullied by the older kids, who dubs him “Jojo Rabbit.”
A dejected JoJo runs off, but thanks to imaginary friend Hitler, JoJo embraces the moniker of the mighty rabbit and proves to the other kids he has what it takes…only to blow himself up with a grenade.