Taika Waititi directs Roman Griffin Davis, Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johannson in this WW2 comedy where a little lad in the Hitler Youth imagines his best friend to be Adolf himself.
A colourful romp that hits loads of lovely laughs in its first hour but maybe lurches into tragedy and self-importance a little too heavily for the final act. I get it. We are dealing with big issues here – fanaticism and doing the right thing when you’ve been brainwashed otherwise. Ethics. Morals. Big chew aside, it is at its best when just being exuberantly daft. It showcases another brilliant Sam Rockwell turn and a great one scene comic masterclass by Stephen Merchant. Scarlett Johannson is zippier, maturer and warmer than is her norm. The kid performances are sweet but CBBC-esque with only Thomasin McKenzie from Leave No Trace showing any dramatic range. As for Hitler himself, Waititi leans into the buffoonish hubris well. Selling him as a Beatles equivalent rock’n’roll icon in the opening credits is a master stroke of scene setting – he understands the pull of hype, pageantry, mass hysteria and branding.