Sisu 2023 Movie Review
Director: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan and Mimosa Willamo
Cinematography: Kjell Lagerroos
During the last days of World War II, a solitary prospector crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. When the soldiers decide to steal his gold, they quickly discover they just tangled with no ordinary miner.
Sisu 2023 Movie Review:
Most people that I have talked to have not even heard of this movie. Luckily, I saw a trailer for it about a month ago.
The word SISU is a Finnish word that roughly translates into Courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Jorma plays the man that has plenty of Sisu. He is a former soldier that is now a prospector, looking for-and finding-gold in northern Finland in 1944.
WW2 is ending and the Nazis are retreating. Aksel is an SS officer leading his men in a retreat using a scorched earth policy of burning villages and capturing girls as souvenirs-he has about 6 so far. Jack is Aksel’s next in command and Mimosa is one of the captured girls.
Jorma crosses paths with Aksel and things get out of control fast. Aksel wants Jorma’s gold as a retirement fund from Germany since the war is now ending-and Jorma doesn’t want to give it up.
The rest is over-the-top action with plenty of body parts flying through the air. There is even a scene where a Nazi soldier asks if maybe Jorma is immortal-they keep trying unsuccessfully to kill him-and Mimosa tells him, No he just refuses to die!
This was a pleasant surprise! We have Tarantino-inspired bloody action, the silent and very charismatic protagonist, beautiful imagery from actual locations in Lapland, a really good soundtrack and some innovative fighting and survival scenes, and of course Finnish Sisu.
Jorma Tommila as the leading man does a phenomenal job. He has only one line in the whole movie (an instant classic), but he is acting very well just by using his face and body.
Congratulations to the writer/director Jalmari Helander, the movie looks really good, flows forward easily, and is overall very cool and original, despite the overused tropes of evil nazis and action. With just a 6 million budget this looks much bigger.
What a film! You know those movies where all the great highlights and action-packed moments already feature in the trailer? “Sisu” has a terrific trailer too, but there are still a few hundred other highlights left to discover in the film. In fact, this film is a one-and-a-half-hour trailer full of awesome moments.
The comparisons I’ve read between “Sisu” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Bastards” are accurate. The extreme violence and narrative structure are identical, and both films feature lots and lots of Nazis getting killed. Everybody just loves watching Nazis getting butchered in the utmost brutal and sadistic ways, is it not?
This is a silent film for the first half hour or so, but where the conversation may lack, the beauty of everything else on screen fills in those gaps rather nicely. (You’ll think as you watch, I want to visit Finland.
I want to live in Finland.) But this is the mid-1940 and there are Nazis being pushed out of the country at the moment and they are losing this war and their death grip on this land and its’ people.
This movie is told in six announced chapters. It’s a gloriously short hour and a half. Tarantino’s influence is heavy but more so from his Westerns than from Inglorious Basterds as one might think.
The kills are awesome. The fights are realistic and not like the choreographed dance fighting we see in most modern productions these days. The action sequences are breathtaking and hearten back to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What sets Sisu apart from other movies, though, is the unique testosterone vibe that it exudes. It’s a celebration of what it means to be a man, with themes of inner strength and perseverance woven throughout the narrative. Helander is truly a master of his craft, and his direction of Sisu is proof of this. It’s no wonder that he’s considered one of the most talented directors in Finland.
Sisu is a violent, gory, feel-good movie all about one man's determination to keep a hold of his well-earned prize with his dog in tow. This is a must-see movie as long as you don't mind some gore of course. Give it a go, you will not be disappointed. 90 minutes of entertainment, action, amazing effects, and much more.