Sisu is not only an ode to modern action classics like Mad Max: Fury Road and John Wick , but it's also very different thanks to its fear and determination to set itself apart as something else. Finnish director Jalmari Hellander's film is a chilling blood, sweat and tears that will make any action fan cry harder.
In Sisida, Helander shows his skill in maintaining innocence. The film takes place in 1945 within an hour and a half, when the Nazi regime implemented a scorched earth policy in Finland. Our main character, ex-soldier Finnish printer Aatami Korpi (Jorma Tomila), barely speaks, literally strikes gold in the Finnish wilderness and must go to the city to turn his fortune into cash. Things got worse when a group of Nazis tried to kill him and take his gold.
A beautifully executed orgy of violence
Like Fury Road or John Wick: Chapter 4 , the beauty of Sisu is not in the plot but in the execution. There's rarely any dialogue, but there's no need for it, as Helander's driving makes for a race full of tension, thrilling action and incredible courage. Sissu is not afraid to act brutally, from throwing explosives to cutting his throat in water to setting himself on fire. Rather than being a sudden, almost choreographed dance of violence, The Killings feels funny. It is red and hard; If you don't want to see a horse's ribs explode, this is not the movie for you.
Sisu's actions stem from Aatami's one-handed fight against the Nazis, the personification of pure evil. Aatami is a war legend known by the Nazis and feared by all; He was called "Immortal" because he could not die. He killed hundreds of Russian soldiers as a single army, and now he will send these Nazis to the afterlife. With Tomila's brutal performance as Aatami, audiences will see an action hero who feels like John Wick caught in the middle of WWII.
Not your typical Nazi revenge movie.
While Sisu's actions have to be seen to be believed, his willingness to slow down and reflect makes the show a very unique survival thriller. Aatami was subjected to every kind of brutality imaginable by the Nazi mob, and Helander spares no effort to demonstrate the extent of his suffering. But as terrifying as the film's action is, it's surprising how much Helander holds the camera as a reminder of the land. The Finnish director took the story personally as his hatred of the Nazis became even more apparent. The result is a more Tarantino-esque revenge tale filled with self-directed hatred.
Whether the action is serious or not, Helander's touch is evident in the film. The movie doesn't actually start with a wild scene like many action movies do. Instead, the ground is opened by introducing a man who does a work similar to that opened by blood . Sisu's burning of the audience with contrasting images results in a unique action film where blood, gore and fear are the main cinematic languages. The wide-angle shot captures the beauty of Finland's vast but brutal Lapland region, contrasting with the sound and fire of wartime destruction. This film reminds me of Robert Eggers' excellent 2022 film Vikings, The Northman , with its wild imagery mixed with the bloody sound.
Is it worth watching?
Sometimes Sisou gets a little carried away by his good looks and falls into the nose trap. Like unnecessary flowers. The film could also benefit from a stronger pace, as its quieter moments begin to straddle the line between repetitive and spectacular as it approaches the final act. However, Sisu ups the ante and action by never letting the audience down with another gory kill.
While it is not a perfect film, it is an effective action film for those who have seen John Wick: Chapter 4 and want something a little different. An adrenaline-fueled tale of rage and revenge, beautiful and entertaining, but also brutal historical conflict to hell and back.
Sisu is currently in select theaters across the country.