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SISU (2023)

Release Date: 04/28/23 [Cinemas / VOD]
Genre: Action. War. 

Studio: Lionsgate. 

"When an ex-soldier who discovers gold in the Lapland wilderness tries to take the loot into the city, Nazi soldiers led by a brutal SS officer battle him." 


Sisu doesn’t waste time with words. In fact, the first bit of dialogue doesn’t even come until fifteen minutes into the movie. Writer and director Jalmari Helander lets the grizzled face of his protagonist (Jorma Tommila) speak for itself. 


The movie takes place in Finland after Germany surrenders at the end of WWII. The protagonist, whose name is not really ever mentioned but officially is called Aatami, finds a massive lump of gold in the countryside. But he has to make his way through retreating Nazis with his newfound treasure. This particular group of Nazis are especially cruel as they travel with a wagon of Finnish women who they hold captive and well, you can fill in the gaps here. 


When they come across Aatami and his gold, they attempt to take it from him. The lone man has nothing besides his horse and his dog to protect him and the Nazis have machine guns and a tank. It seems like it should be an easy win for the Germans. But they have never encountered a man like this. Even the Finnish women warn the soldiers of the legend of the man who refuses to die. But of course the Nazis are too stupid to listen. 


Helander comes up with a variety of creative scenarios for Aatami to outsmart his opponents despite his lack of artillery. Some are outlandish, like when he slits a few throats underwater but somehow never comes up for air himself. But seeing evil Nazis die doesn’t ever get old throughout the one hour and thirty-one minute runtime. 


Tommila’s quiet intensity helps set the tone for the character and for the movie as a whole. He only utters one line of dialogue and it’s not until the very end. Sisu is an exercise in formulaic action movies, but it’s a blast to watch. And while there’s no literal English translation for the Finnish word, sisu, you’ll know it when you see it. 

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