The first wave of critic reviews for Taika Waititi's 'anti-hate satire' Jojo Rabbit are in. The movie, which offers a comedic take on Adolf Hitler, has prompted extreme reaction, being praised and savaged in equal measure.
The film enjoyed its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday night. Waititi and the star-studded cast were in attendance and received a standing ovation as the credits rolled.
The Herald's Siena Yates was in Toronto for the screening and called the movie an, "unmatched feat of storytelling".
The entertainment bible Entertainment Weekly shared this assessment, awarding the film a 91% rating and raving that it was "an audacious piece of Third Reich whimsy that almost definitely shouldn't work as well as it does."
Others, however, were not so generous. The harshest critics labelled Waititi's first feature since his wildly successful Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok as 'disposable', 'inconsequential' and 'monotonously admonishing'.
The movie earned a rare 0 star rating at movie website Slant, with its reviewer saying "Waititi prefers to treat his audience like drooling cretins who need their hands held through every shift in tone." and called it "Marvel presents Mein Kampf."
Most reviews, however, tended to land between these two extremes. On review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes Jojo Rabbit is currently sitting on a 70% rating, based on 33 professional critic reviews. However, over at Metacritic, a rival aggregate site, the movie scored much lower, with an average approval rating of 45%.
"Jojo Rabbit doesn't quite come together the way its opening promises and, most shockingly, lacks the punch it needs to really work," opined RogerEbert.com.
Vanity Fair's reviewer was let down by the lack of weight saying, "Jojo Rabbit is more of a roast than a reckoning, which I suppose would be fine if it were only aiming for comedy. But this is a movie with lofty humanist ideas."
Total Film's critic described the WW2 movie as "Disposable frivolity that promises fun at the cinema, if not resonance.".
The Hollywood Reporter reached a similar conclusion reporting that, "The cartoonishness of it, while amusing at the outset, doesn't wear well as matters deepen and progress."
New York Magazine's critic was moved by the movie saying, "Even if I don't love Jojo Rabbit (which is based on a novel by Christine Leunens that I now intend to read), I love that it exists and that Waititi has forced me to reexamine my own responses."
But the last word goes to The Film Stage, which wrote, "Neither the masterpiece nor the atrocity it will be described as from here on out by fans and critics alike, Jojo Rabbit is pretty funny, mostly fine, and (perhaps worst of all) well-made."
Jojo Rabbit opens in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday, October 24.