Genre: Action, War
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 31m
Director(s): Jalmari Helander
Writer(s): Jalmari Helander
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo, Onni Tommila
Where To Watch: in select theaters April 28, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: SISU, a Finnish World War II film, brings us an exciting tale of a gold prospector, Aatami Korpi, played by Jorma Tommila, in the vast and remote terrain of northern Finland. Unwittingly, a group of Nazis crosses this determined ex-commando who embodies "sisu" – the Finnish idea of unyielding courage. From that moment on, everything breaks loose, and we dive down a rabbit hole of nonstop insanity (in the best way possible.) Let's just say it doesn't take a lot of dialogue to make a great action film!
If you’ve seen the trailer, this is one of those few instances where the film delivers exactly as promised. This film dazzles viewers with its perfect blend of action, stunning landscapes, and cinematography meant for the big screen. SISU is an outlier in the action genre; it borrows from modern action films like JOHN WICK but keeps itself planted in the real world.
Set against the backdrop of 1944 Lapland during the final moments of World War II. The cinematography showcases the stark beauty of the desolate landscape, eliciting a sense of impending doom. Most of the film mixes the look and feel of DUNKIRK, the “No Man’s Land Battle” from WONDER WOMAN, and a pinch of dystopian MAD MAX craziness. Director Jalmari Helander combines elements of war films with Western influences, integrating action, neo-western, god-like warriors, and post-apocalyptic war. Korpi feels nearly immortal as he battles the Nazis with relentless determination. The over-the-top violence and graphic kills will amp up your heartbeat and get you rooting for the “good” guy as he attempts to keep what is rightfully his.
My only real issue with the film was the pacing, I would have preferred a nonstop barrage, but some slower moments tried to bring the audience back off the artificial high. SISU remains a delightful and engaging watch with a mix of its unique cinematic style and brutal action scenes.
SISU score also plays a significant role in the film, timed perfectly with the action on screen, and the music is meant to enhance the mayhem unfolding in front of you. The film's supporting cast balances Tommila’s portrayal well; from the monstrous Nazi leader to those helping Korpi along the way, each character felt vital to their role.
At its heart, SISU is a story of determination and resiliency with the ultimate drive to survive. It’s a gripping war film unique to the genre, presenting a mix of action, comedy, and style; the film leaves a lasting impression on fans of war stories and action thrillers.
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[photo courtesy of LIONSGATE]