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Jojo Rabbit trailer unleashes bizarre Adolf Hitler satire


Expecting normality from writer-director Taika Waititi is akin to expecting friendliness from Pennywise the clown.

The New Zealand film-maker has established an unmistakeable house style, lacing wry, deadpan humour with poignant undertones to establish a firm fanbase.

From the early days of Eagle vs Shark through to What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Waititi has always shown affection for the oddball and the outsider, which reached its zenith in 2017 Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok. (Waititi will return to Marvel with 2021's Thor: Love and Thunder.)

But if we're talking outsiders, they don't come more isolated than the title character of Waititi's new movie Jojo Rabbit. As portrayed by screen newcomer Roman Griffin Davis, youngster Jojo 'Rabbit' Beltzer is a kid in the Hitler Youth whose innocence is being engulfed by the madness of World War II.

Torn between revulsion and compassion at the treatment of the Jews, Jojo's life doesn't get any easier when he envisages Hitler himself (Waititi) as his imaginary friend. To top it off, Jojo's mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is concealing young Jewish girl Elsa (Thomas Mackenzie) in their house – so what will Jojo do? Will he help Elsa, or will he allow the idiotic, babyish Hitler to shape a sense of aggressive nationalism?

The movie is based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, and looks as if it's taking a brazenly OTT, satirical take on sobering material.

One might imagine that Waititi, while making a pantomime of the horrors of war, will insurgently sneak a heartbreaking message of decency and morality in there come the ending.

Waititi's movies often reveal themselves as being deeper than they seem on the surface: the aforementioned Ragnarok was a candy-coloured homage to Flash Gordon that ultimately transformed into an affecting, sweet-natured bromance between Thor and Hulk.

The excellent supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorff, Rebel Wilson as Fraulein Rahm and Stephen Merchant as Captain Deertz. Given the pedigree of Waititi, the cast and the source material, could we be looking at a rank outsider in the 2020 Oscars race? Or does the movie simply look too difficult for the Academy to handle?

Jojo Rabbit is due for release on 3rd January 2020. Tweet us @Cineworld with your thoughts on the trailer.