- Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie Jack Doolan
- Jamari Helander
- Action, War
- Release date
- April 28, 2023
Meaning the Finnish equivalent of guts or grit, Sisu isn’t revolutionary, but it serves as a nail-biting palette cleanser to get the taste of meaningless third-act battles with giant disposable CGI armies out of your mouth and remind you what an action flick can be.
If Schadenfreude was a movie, it would be Sisu. Set in Finland circa 1944, as WWII comes to a close, Sisu follows a grizzled and solitary gold prospector and legendary ex-soldier who perseveres on shear unrelenting determination, as he brutally works his way through a group of Nazi raiders who have robbed him of his gold.
The story is virtually non-existent, with almost no dialogue (in fact, the lead only has one line in the entire film). Instead, Sisu takes full advantage of crisp and violent visuals and lead performer Jorma Tommila’s craggy weather-beaten face to carry what narrative there is to the end.
One might think that, because it’s a film about stealing a bag of gold it may be challenging for the audience to connect with the film on any level beyond the most primitive of bloodlust, however, there’s just enough of a B-plot to give it that half of a dimension more it needs to make the audience cheer.
Furthermore, the two main villains manage to be both evil and sadistic enough to root for their deaths and realistic enough to not laugh at. This gives us two very satisfying endings and one of the best villain deaths in recent cinema.
For a film that feels a lot like a really cool hour-and-a-half video game cut screen, Sisu is Worth it, if not perfect. A case could easily be made that the lead character should have died in every confrontation and that there was time to include a flashback or two in lieu of a paragraph of exposition, but Sisu is most definitely a case of style winning over substance.
It won’t win any awards for…anything, but Sisu is a very entertaining way to spend 90 minutes.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.