The “apocrypha” associated with this movie is enormous. You never know, some of it might (even) be true(ish) e.g.: “I had to make the ……. superhero film ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ in order to finance ‘JoJo…’ because no-one else would finance it” seems more than believable, in hindsight.
The mythology is irrelevant, the movie is the thing.
The basic plot line: It’s World War II and a very young boy, a member of the Hitler Youth, lives with his mother (who doesn’t believe in (the) war) whilst his father is (maybe) fighting the war in Italy. The young boy has an imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler.
There is no way to do the movie justice in words. I now completely understand the many reviews which simply say, more or less, “Just see it”.
But here I go: As I watched the best and cleverest opening sequence for any movie I’ve seen, at least since “Under the skin” (Scarlett Johansson*, main actress in “….skin”, features in “JoJo…”, alongside Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Steve Merchant, who basically “reprises” Sturmbannführer Arnold Ernst Toht from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, a very deliberate reference I think. The film contains a couple of references which belong outside the time period in which “JoJo…” is set. Some, but not all, are linguistic. I think they are reminders that these events could happen again at anytime, especially now.) I figured I was about to see something truly inventive. And that’s exactly what I got, except that it’s also, somewhat surprisingly, a deeply emotional experience. There are pieces of the movie that, in any other telling, simply shouldn’t be there: the first scene in the town square really tested my sensibilities, fortunately I persevered, because (as shocking as the scene is) it has a  purpose: it remind’s the audience of “what we are talking about”, that Taika Waititi (the movie’s director) hasn’t lost sight of the big picture and that whilst the device he is using to construct the movie is comedic, this comedy exists inside a tragedy and it’s a tragedy of our own making. This isn’t naturally occurring, a tsunami or a meteor for example, this is something we created. And sadly that we continue to create.
Many of the performances, especially Rockwell’s, are very good, though performed “within” the film. Rebel Wilson “chews up the scenery” a bit, obviously what she is there for. Waititi plays the part of  the imaginary “Adolf” and makes of him a comedic “boob” with maybe a touch of the delusional haplessness of “Basil Fawlty”, until quite near the end when Waititi creates another extraordinary “town square” like scene.
The movie is resolved beautifully, but not without the pain that comes from recognising one’s own delusion.
A tale more “of” than “for” our very unfortunate times. An answer to David Byrne’s perpetual question? “How did I get here?”
A number of my friends are yet to see “JoJo…”. I know I’ll be seeing it again. Soon. Though, a very close friend has seen it and would have walked out except that he was not alone.
(And “JoJo…” is coming to “Seniors on Screen”, at the Mercury Cinema, late in February.)
*Not really much of a fan of Ms Johnasson, I don’t get what the fuss is all about. Really liked her performances in “Lost in Translation” and “Under the skin”, though both are from the “non-acting school of acting” (somewhat “somnambulating” her way through the events of the film) which, I think, is probably harder than it looks. Sam Rockwell, on the other hand? I’m a long time admirer. I like him. Too many “favs” to list but “Lawn Dogs” (though he definitely plays in the shadow of the performance by Mischa Barton, and is clever enough to know that’s what he has to do) and “Moon” are both there. As is his “Eric Knox” in the 2000 iteration of “Charlie’s Angels”. “Three bill-boards…”?, his Oscar winning performance. Not so much.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taika_Waititi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_in_Translation_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Skin_(2013_film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_Dogs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie%27s_Angels_(2000_film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Billboards_Outside_Ebbing,_Missouri
https://mercurycinema.org.au/products/our-films/seniors-on-screen-2016/