A 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. Jalmari Helander’s gleefully entertaining actioner delivers gory mayhem by the bucketload.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
Sisu is a Finnish concept that means stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. It’s also the title given to this cathartic and bloody WWII Finnish action film that’ll give any Proud Boy a cinematic-aneurysm with its running time entirely made up of jaw-dropping and perversely funny methods for the dispatching of Nazis by a one-man army.
Director Jalmari Helander opens his deliriously gory war/western with Aatami Korpi, a lone mysterious Finnish miner discovering gold before being interrupted by a convoy of Nazis, favouring the scorched earth approach in their departure from the Lapland region. The whiff of a fortune is enough for these war-weary fascists to pivot their plans and focus all attention on the golden meal ticket named Korpi. One extremely scheiße bauen decision. The Nazi commander is warned by a cohort that Korpi is “one mean motherfucker you don’t want to mess with”, before ignoring this pertinent piece of intel and proceeding in an attempt to eliminate the Scandinavian version of John Wick (complete with dog).
Don’t come along expecting any clever deconstruction of action genre tropes or an avant-garde approach to familiar material—this isn’t that movie. This movie’s raison d'etre is to fuck-up Nazis six ways to Sunday. With Chapter headings like “Kill ‘em All”, fans of demented violent action will be pleasantly surprised by the never-ending display of innovative ways a human body can be disassembled. — Ant Timpson