When I last spoke to Taika Waititi he was riding high. His whizz-bang-pop superhero flick Thor: Ragnarok had been a smash hit worldwide and was being praised for injecting much needed pizzazz into the Marvel cinematic universe.
He had box office success and he had industry buzz. There was nothing he couldn't do. So I asked him what he was going to do. He vaguely said he had ideas and projects and then he laughed.
"They're all potential career enders," he said.
In his new movie, Waititi stars as Adolf Hitler, a move as potentially career ending as it gets. It's called Jojo Rabbit and is about a 10-year-old boy living in Nazi Germany whose imaginary friend happens to be the tyrannical dictator.
Waititi's not the first filmmaker to make the fuhrer the butt of jokes. Charlie Chaplin, Daffy Duck and Quentin Tarantino all had a crack. Heck, just last year Ryan Reynolds irreverent superhero Deadpool travelled back in time to kill baby Hitler in Deadpool 2.
But it's rare to see Hitler described as "oddly lovable", which is how he's presented in the movie. Yes, that's an odd way to think of the former German Chancellor but in context it makes sense; of course a young lad's imaginary friend is going to be a goofy pal and not an unimaginably horrific monster.
To ensure people get the point, the phrase "an anti-hate satire" has been pushed relentlessly in the film's marketing. You'd think watching the movie's trailer, with its bright pastel colouring, childish whimsy and goofball antics, would dismiss any confusion but apparently we're living in the era of stupid.
Jojo Rabbit, however, isn't alone in having to spell out its intent so people who haven't actually watched the thing don't get all offended by it. Two years ago Armando Iannucci's brilliantly funny, pitch-black satire The Death of Stalin also got lumbered with the tagline warning "A comedy of terrors".
After its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Monday, Jojo Rabbit enjoyed a two-minute-long standing ovation. Initial reports indicated that Jojo was well on the way to giving Waititi a cinematic hat-trick, following his global breakthrough The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and, of course, Thor: Ragnarok.
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I mean, why wouldn't Waititi pull off this ambitious, landmine-filled, potentially career-ending movie?
In the Herald's "First Look" review later that day we called it an "unmatched feat of storytelling". That view was backed up by Three's well respected film critic Kate Rodger, who tweeted that it was "nigh on perfect".
So far, sehr gut! Roll on October 24, when Jojo Rabbit would finally bounce into cinemas here.
But then more reviews started trickling out and they painted a somewhat different picture. A somewhat sucky picture.
"Its so-called audacity smacks of calculation and emotional cowardice," reckoned The Los Angeles Times. The Guardian bemoaned the "smug surface-level audacity". ScreenDaily weren't mad they were just "disappointed that the film proves to be so meagre".
About the best thing Ebert.com, the movie site set up by America's late, great, movie critic Roger Ebert, could say was "it's far from the disaster it could have been", which is not exactly high praise.
Meanwhile, movie website Slant rated it a whopping zero stars out of four. Zero!
Mein Gott! Were these people even watching the same film?
The only place such a wild discrepancy pops up is in audience reviews, where scores can be manipulated by trollish targeting or a particularly passionate fan base.
In the professional realm such whopping distance is incredibly rare. On one hand Jojo Rabbit got celebrated with a huge 91 per cent rating from Entertainment Weekly but it also got absolutely savaged by Slant and their brutal zero.
But really, it's hardly surprising that a movie which transforms Hitler into a kooky sidekick or lovable pal is dividing audiences.
In a perverse way it's kind of great to see this critical chasm appearing. Maybe the uncertainty of what to expect or what reaction it will spark will motivate more people to go see it.
And at the very least, Jojo Rabbit is igniting a conversation. People are discussing movies - what they mean, what they can be and what they have to say - in a meaningful way again. That can only be a win in this era of cinematic rehashes, sequels and superheroes.
"I'm always trying to do something that makes me feel more uncomfortable and a bit unsure of the result," Waititi told me back in March. "That's a good space to be in creatively."
With the world at his feet, Waititi could have played it safe. That this is what he made, when he literally could have made anything, is to be applauded.