By Dr Oliver Hartwich for the NZ Initiative…

The prospect of a new Taika Waititi movie is usually a reason for joyful anticipation. However, watching the trailer of Jojo Rabbit and reading the first reviews left me appalled.

Jojo Rabbit is Waititi’s take on the Third Reich. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this week and will be shown at cinemas from October.

Waititi, the New Zealander of the Year 2017, calls his slapstick movie an “anti-hate satire”. Still, I wonder whether it will do more harm than good.

There have been outstanding satires about Hitler and the Nazis. Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Great Dictator (1940) mocked the monumentalism of the Nazi regime. Mel Brooks used the Nazi theme to critique the US showbusiness in The Producers (1967). Jerry Lewis satirised militarism in Which Way to the Front? (1970).

These classics leave no doubt about the character of the Nazis: They were evil. In Jojo Rabbit, however, they stumble through the plot like “clumsy morons”, as the Guardian’s critic describes it….

Read Dr Hartwich’s full blog on the NZ Initiative website here.

Read the review of Jojo Rabbit on Showbiz 411 here.