kees’s review published on Letterboxd:
Equally hilarious, sad and beautiful, Taika Waititi’s World War Two satire is drenched in love and passion for the craft of film. There’s no other film maker that can balance satirical comedy with Hitler with as much precision and heart as Waititi does. You get the feeling that with any other director’s hand behind the camera the film would not come off nearly as well. He tells the story of Jojo who’s mind has been corrupted by his country to be a Nazi and the jew who changes his entire outlook on life. Obviously an extremely risky project to take on, but with Taika’s distinct style of storytelling he juggles the conflicting tones perfectly to feel like one cohesive and flowing narrative. He implements his classic style of comedy to convey drama and emotion without coming off heavy handed but knows when to take certain moments seriously (for the most part). The way in which he shows what the world looks like through Jojo’s eyes and how he doesn’t fully understand the extent of the horror and repulsiveness of war, the film slowly unravels the disgusting nature of what he supports. The development of his character is dramatized for entertainments sake but in a way feels extremely tangible and real. And in a way you can see how his view point has been heavily influenced because it’s all he’s ever known, and when something has been implanted into your head to the extent of Jojo you really understand his character and why he thinks the way he does. As far as flaws go it felt like I was plucking at straws to find a legitimate criticism but at the end of the day I’m not going to look at the film any differently. At times I could see elements from other films, particularly Wes Anderson movies in the way that he composites the shots and towards the climax of the film he implements humour that I found slightly jarring, but other than that it’s a wholly original piece of art that extracted so much emotion out of me and by the end I felt fulfilled and drained at the same time. It’s utterly hilarious but most of all a beautiful film that has never felt so important. Told in such a fantasy like way but simultaneously feeling devastatingly poignant that makes for a film I will never forget.