Review: Sisu

I have some words, not many, but definitely some, to say about the recently released film Sisu; however, first watch:

If watching the above, does not convince you to watch the film, I am not sure my raving review will help, but, seriously, watch this movie.

The premise of Sisu is not particularly new or unique. A silent (except for occasional grunts and two lines at the end to close out the film) protagonist in the form of a Winter War veteran who has left behind World War II after the loss of his family and earning himself a reputation as a one man kill squad. In his new solitary life, Aatami Korpi roams the wilderness of Lapland, panning and mining in search of gold. During his excavations, Korpi manages to find a rich deposit of gold. He collects a sizeable amount of nuggets and sets off to the nearest town, with his faithful dog, to sell them off.

However, while Korpi is living and working in the remote wilderness, the Nazis have begun a campaign of “torched Earth” destroying cities, killing civilians, stealing property, and basically sowing chaos and destruction as they retreat back to Germany after the war efforts have turned against them. Korpi comes across a retreating 30-man Wehrmacht platoon that has destroyed neighboring villages and abducted some women. The silent miner does not intervene upon this meeting. For the most part, he ignores them and tries to continue on his journey toward town. He has left the war behind and is no longer interested in any conflict of any kind. In fact, by seemingly all account, had the Nazis simply left Korpi alone, he would have done the same to them. It is only after the last vehicle in the convoy attempts to steal his gold and kill him that the panhandler finally takes, reluctant, action and kills some Nazis in self defense. Even at this point, had he been left along, Korpi would have been fine leaving after this encounter and not attempting any form of confrontation.

The old man just wants to sell his gold and be on his way.

Of course, it is not that easy. Bruno Helldorf, the ruthless SS leader of the platoon, discovers the vast treasure the old man is traveling with and decides he must have it. It is not just greed that motivates this Nazi. He fully understands that Germany is losing the war and will ultimately admit defeat. Once that happens, all that awaits him and his men are trials, tribunals, and many crimes to answer for that will most likely result in executions or, at best, a life with nothing and no real hope. The gold the old man is carrying becomes a lifeline and means of escape from their earned outcome. Thus, at the cost of supplies, time, men, and a full dereliction of duty and orders, Helldorf chases the Finnish man until his death.

However, as Helldorf and his men eventually learn, this Finnish man is no ordinary man. He has earned himself he moniker of the “Immortal” from the Russian forces for his unrelenting pursuit and killing of Russian soldiers. Accordingly, Korpi manages to survive being shot at and hung. Then, with protagonist luck, he acquires a plane that can help him catch up to the moving platoon even with their significant lead. The Finnish man impedes the Nazis progress by crashing the plane in front of their path. He also kills off a few more soldiers while freeing and arming the young women that had been kidnapped. They enact a plan to easily kill off all the soldiers save the trio of leaders in the single tank. Eventually, there is a final standoff between Korpi and Helldorf in an old plane resulting in the Nazi being dropped tied to a bomb from the plane and the Fin miraculously surviving a plane crash. The film ends with Korpi finally arriving at a bank and selling his gold for paper money as it is lighter and easier to carry.

Title card.

The girls didn’t get much, but they still got a Badass moment.

So, again, a very simple story in Sisu. But it was still a highly enjoyable, engaging, and satisfying watch with just a minute over an hour and a half runtime. Really hope more movies follow that metric since, frankly, most films above two hours are just self indulgent, masturbatory practices by the director/writer/self styled auteur. Sisu is a pretty straightforward action film. It is violent and bloody and gory with no greater plot or story beyond killing some Nazis in brutal methods. Honestly, though, what more do you need from an action flick.

I thoroughly enjoyed how basic and unashamed the film was with its presentation. There was no attempts to humanize or give any form of sympathy or humanity to the Nazis. Instead, the movie goes with the classic concept that villains are just villains and assholes and should just be killed. Even better, the bad guys do not get some grand last stand or fight in a blaze of glory. They are easily dispatched without pomp or circumstance gutted by an old man or humiliated by a bunch of untrained young women. It is nice to have a film that just basks in the glory of humiliating and killing Nazis. More movies should do that and set it in more modern times.

If you are in the mood for a quick, action heavy, well choreographed, and intensely violent film in the vein of John Wick, recommend Sisu preferably in theaters as it is well worth the watch and cost of a ticket.

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