“Sisu” is not your “usual” war movie and the usual meter can swing in both directions and after 5 decades of war movie viewing experience “Sisu” is off the meter. In fact it breaks the meter! No “Full Metal Jacket” nor John Wayne “Green Berets”.
Aatami (Jorma Tommila) is a Finnish goldminer (and something a little bit more) in the remote Lapland region of Finland. He looks like Grizzly Adams hence a rather harmless old geezer? It is 1944 and the Germans are on the retreat from Finland with the Russians hot on their trail scorching everything in their way looting, raping and murdering. Aatami has just hit it rich discovering a huge vein of gold. So he packs up a couple of sacks of the precious metal and heads off with his horse and dog encountering a convoy of Germans with their “Finnish bitches” they are holding prisoners in one of their trucks. The nasty Germans then try and eliminate Aatami and steal his gold. Then a harmless old geezer reveals a personality that fits nicely into the poor victimized against the evil overpowering “bad guys”.
You probably can guess what happens but of course I can’t spoil it for you. “Sisu” borrows from many genres, films and directors but blends them into a unique style somewhat like a great red Bordeaux wine with a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. To give you a flavour of what to expect think of “From Dusk Until Dawn”, Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, “Scarface”, Thor, Dr. Strangelove and perhaps even “Mad Max” and “Conan the Barbarian”. Although blood, guts and body parts fly all over the screen much of the film has a graphic comic book feel to it. And as it is the SS that gets a real good licking the violence in the film can appear somewhat justified. If Bogart hadn’t been such a sociopath in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” that movie might just have ended like this one. Ask those “Finnish bitches” how sweet revenge can be. A film where both the bad guys and the good guys can be bad.
Compelling cinematography, special effects, acting and soundtracks. I think it will have great popular appeal upon its 28 April North American release and thereafter perhaps even a “cult classic”. Just a tad repetitive at certain points.
You can see the trailer here; https://lionsgate.app.box.com/s/4d0t0ijn112ftstcajl2ngn8cm7rflft/file/1171289129411
Directed by Jalmari Helander
RKS 2023 Film Rating 94/100.