SISU is a new very gory war movie with lots of action and extremely brutal scenes. A classic revenge story with a twist. This is a movie from Finland, but English is spoken – and this time, there’s a good reason. Read our full Sisu movie review here!
SISU is a war movie and a revenge story. Two things that have always gone very well together. Also, this movie is from Finland, but you’d never know based on the language spoken. Everyone speaks English, so you don’t need to worry about subtitles.
The dialogue isn’t what carries this story in any case. Violence is the universal language and it is particularly brutal in this Finnish movie that takes place towards the end of World War II. While the scenes are grotesquely brutal, they are also surprisingly realistic in most cases. With a runtime of just 1 hour and 31 minutes, it stays sharp throughout.
Continue reading our Sisu movie review below. Find it in theaters from April 28, 2023.
A Finnish Spaghetti Western set during WWII
The reason they all speak English in SISU is actually quite brilliant, so I can actually live with it here. Normally, I loathe when people speak English in movies that are supposed to take place in non-English speaking countries. I’m looking at you, The Snowman and Domino, in particular!
However, with Sisu, it’s the core niche of the movie being a modern take on the Spaghetti Western.
Yes, SISU is basically a Spaghetti Western set during WWII in Finland. Just like in those movies starring Clint Eastwood where the cowboys spoke English with various strange accents, even the Nazis speak English with a strange accent.
Often an attempted German accent, but the actors playing Nazi soldiers are both Norwegian (Aksel Hennie of The Trip), Finnish (Onni Tommila of Rare Exports), and British (Jack Doolan of Marcella S1 and S2), so the dialect can be a bit muddled. And for a Spaghetti Western, this is absolutely perfect!
Jorma Tommila is a bonafide action star
The absolute star of SISU, however, is Jorma Tommila as the quiet and extremely capable former soldier turned gold miner. He is one tough motherf*cker that could easily be compared to the likes of John Rambo or Jason Bourne. Though, obviously, this story is set much earlier as this story takes place during WWII in 1944.
Basically, Jorma Tommila’s character in SISU is the definition of that word. As are the Finnish women who are being held hostage by the Nazis traveling across the Finnish countryside plundering and burning any village they come across.
The word can’t be directly translated (much like my native Danish word “hygge”), but it describes a stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. Basically, it’s not just the refusal to give up or give in, but also actively fighting to continue moving forward.
Watch SISU in US movie theaters!
The writer and director of SISU is Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander. He also directed the amazing Finnish Christmas horror movie Rare Exports which also starred Jorma Tommila and Onni Tommila. The two played father and son in that movie. And yes, as the last name indicated, they are indeed real-life father and son as well.
In SISU, the younger Tommila is a Nazi, so there’s definitely no relation there!
This new revenge movie has already played at film festivals worldwide with great success. It has – very deservedly, I might add – won several awards. Including four awards at the Sitges Film Festival for best actor, cinematography, music, and motion picture. So, pretty much the whole lot!
Well, except for the director award which went to Ti West for Pearl (2022). However, Jalmari Helander has already won the best director award at Sitges. It happened back in 2010 with Rare Exports.
By the way, do yourself a favor and notice the music when you watch this movie. The score consists mostly of intense vocal performances. A special kind of choir that utilizes very guttural vocalizations. Something that works perfectly for this story!
SISU is out in US movie theaters from April 28, 2023.
Director: Jalmari Helander
Writer: Jalmari Helander
Stars: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo, Onni Tommila, Arttu Kapulainen
During the last desperate days of WWII, a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner. While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds. And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.
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