There are two writer/directors that are making waves in both blockbuster films and thoughtful Oscar-buzz worthy movies. They are Taika Waititi and Rian Johnson.
In 2017, Waititi and Johnson got a chance to share their writing chops with blockbuster movies that moved the particular stories in bold new directions. Waitit helped direct and steer the third Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, in a direction that was both brilliant and very entertaining. Thor, whose first two previous movies are considered on the bottom of totem pole in the MCU desperately needed an upgrade and Waititi’s vision gave him a story worth caring about while allowing Chris Hemsworth to let his comedic chops shine.
Rian Johnson did the same thing with The Last Jedi but unlike Thor: Ragnarok which would ultimately receive critical acclaim from critics and fans alike The Last Jedi was met with a barrage of searing vitriol as the Star Wars fandom was split straight down the middle. Some fans thought it was a moment of masterful storytelling. Others felt like their entire childhood had been sent into flames before their very eyes, culminating in a movie that was just too upsetting to handle.
And then last year, Taika and Rian would return with brand new films set to an entirely different tone. Waititi would release Jojo Rabbit, a dark comedy about a ten-year-old Nazi enthusiast whose imaginary best friend is Adolf Hitler and Johnson would make Knives Out, a film that’s considered to be one of the best whodunnit flicks of all time with its masterful twists and turns.
Both filmmakers know the importance of a good yet simple setting and perfect casting but only one film, despite both being nominated for Oscar nominations, brought home its writer/director an Oscar win and that was Jojo Rabbit, and for good reason.
Waititi bluntly throws in the faces of all that watch this film the sheer stupidity of hatred and how it corrupts otherwise good and decent people, turning them into monsters for no reason whatsoever.
Jojo, the protagonist of the story, loves everything about the Nazis and thinks that Jews are the worst creations on the planet, because that is what he has been taught, but when he discovers a Jew girl secretly living in the attic of his house his entire world changes.
It’s a brilliantly written, perfectly crafted story that takes its time to build to the climactic end. I’m not going to lie. I found myself crying quite a bit in the last thirty minutes of the movie.
One of the film’s six Oscar nominations went to Scarlet Johansson and I have to say, she totally deserved it. She portrays Jojo’s mother with such sureness that she feels like a perfectly written character who brings a lot of heart to the story. There is one particular scene that probably garnered her the nomination in the first place that comes to mind when I think of how great of a job she did in this movie.
No, Jojo Rabbit definitely didn’t deserve the big win which is of course Best Picture but it deserves its nomination for such an honor because it is that good. Its dark comedy fills the movie with that classic Waititi humor but the seriousness of the story’s subject matter reminds you over and over again that even though you may laugh it isn’t funny.
I’m going to give this movie a solid 97 out 100 and 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s not the best movie I’ve seen but it is way better than I expected and it deserves all the praise it can get. I can’t wait to see what Taika Waititi can do with Thor: Love and Thunder and the new Star Wars movie which he will write and direct.
It’s going to be fun, brilliant, and masterful.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.