I know I’m late in seeing this film and I’m not going to go through the whole film as there are plenty of places doing that. I’m going to put a few thoughts across.
I must admit I was unsure about watching this but it has ScarJo in it so it had to be done.
I was totally blown away! The performances from the entire cast was on point. Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo Betzler, the young boy brainwashed by the Hitler Youth is truly talented for someone of his age. From the start of the film where he was a hardcore Nazi to the scenes near the end when he finally had his eyes open he stole the show.
His interactions with his imaginary best friend ‘Adolf Hitler’, played by Taika Waititi, were both hilarious and disturbing.
He was only to be outdone by two people.
The first is Archie Yates who plays Yorki, Jojo’s second best friend (BFF is reserved for the Fuhrer for when Jojo finally meets him) who, considering this is his first role, comes across with a very mature attitude and delivers some very funny one-liners totally deadpan which just adds to the humour.
The second is Thomasin McKenzie, who I last saw in ‘The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’. Thomasin plays Elsa, a young Jewish girl who is hiding in Jojo’s house- put there by Rosie, Jojo’s mother, who is a member of the Resistance. Through her, we get to see how the antisemitism spouted by Jojo has an effect on her- I can’t say this makes me understand how Jewish people suffered because nothing can, but it gets a powerful message across and is a telling reflection on today’s society which is in itself disturbing.
Scarlett Johansson as Rosie, Jojo’s mum plays the role well. On the outside she is a happy German citizen who does not take crap from anyone. Behind close doors she tries her hardest to turn her son away from the Hitler Youth all the while working for the resistance.
There were also great performances by Sam Rockwell as the inept Captain Martin Klenzendorf, a German Army officer with delusions of grandeur, and Alfie Allen who played Otto Finkel, Klenzendorf’s second-in-command. It was heavily implied that the two officers were in a relationship, something that would not go down well in Nazi Germany. This could have been developed further.
All in all a great film and I hope it does well at this year’s Oscars!