Written and Directed by Jalmari Helander
Cast:Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan and others
Cinematography: Kjell Lagerroos
Music: Juri Seppä, Tuomas Wäinölä
Released by Sony Pictures
Release date: April 28, 2023
Rating: 4 stars
Director Jalmari Helander’s English film with a Finnish name for a title is a rare gem that you cannot afford to miss.
Yes, Sisu, which is a Finnish word, actually cannot be translated into English for the simple reason that English does not have an equivalent word. However, Sisu when loosely translated refers to a kind of raw, brutal courage and determination that is unmatched.
Sisu is just a treat for action lovers. The film is inspiring and intensely engaging.
It’s plot, which starts off on a slow note, keeps gaining intensity by the minute. By the time, the first half ends, you can’t wait for the intermission to end and the second half to begin.
The story is set at a time when the Second World War is in its final stages.
The Nazis, who have brought death and destruction to everyplace they have been, are locked in a grim battle over the Finnish territory of Lapland.
The Russians want Finland to drive the Nazis out of Lapland while the Germans are looking to scorch everything to dust on their way out. As the Germans kill people and burn cities to dust, one miner alone refuses to let himself be drawn into the battle and sticks to minding his businsess.
He goes about his business of patiently examining fresh water streams to find any traces of gold. When one day he eventually finds a small nugget, he is thrilled and tracks down a huge deposit of the precious metal.
He collects the gold and begins to make his way on his horse to the nearest bank located a whopping 563 miles away.
It is not long before that the miner runs into a German convoy which has just completed plundering and burning another Finnish town to dust.
Led by the self-centred and inhuman SS Obersturmführer Bruno Helldorf (Aksel Hennie), the convoy comprises a large group of battle-hardened soldiers whose only intention is to destroy everything on their way.
Initially, SS Obersturmführer Bruno Helldorf’s deputy Wolf (Jack Doolan), an equally brutal monster, looks to finish off the miner on the horse but the overconfident Helldorf, who seriously undermines the old man on the horse, stops him saying that the miner is anyway going to his death as he is heading towards a city that is being ravaged by other German forces.
Little does Helldorf know then that the insignificant miner they were about to take on was Aatomi Korpi (Jorma Tommila), a fighting legend in Finland…
Sisu is just mind-boggling action that is not just thrilling but also inspiring as well. In fact, the director seems to have taken the saying, ‘Action speaks louder than words’ a little too literally for the film has more action sequences than dialogues in it.
There are very few dialogues spoken in the film. In fact, the only dialogue that the hero speaks comes in the climax.
But believe me, all that matters very little as the actors do a fantastic job in communicating what needs to communicated through their outstanding performances.
Jorma Tommila, in particular, stands out in this regard. From the deep cuts that are there on his body to his ability to bear extreme amounts of pain to his dispassionate and remorseless methods of execution, he comes across as being a legend.
The film, which debuted at the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival, premiered in Finland on January 27 this year.
In the end, ‘Sisu’ is not about who is the strongest. It is about who never gives up.
The film releases on April 28 in India. Be sure to mark this one’s release on your calendars.