#Review: Sisu

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Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. The reason I gave you this little lesson in the title of the film I am reviewing is because it encapsulates the film itself.

This is a simple story, told in a clean ninety minutes about a man who simply wishes to exist and damn you if you are trying to stop him from doing that simple deed. Sisu starts quite pompously by stating it is set during the winding down of WWII.

The Nazis are travelling through Finland, burning everything they find along the way. Unfortunately, for them, they happen across a man, his horse and his dog. They decide that the hard-earned gold he has should be theirs. This was their first mistake.

Sisu – A one-man death squad

Sisu is a brilliantly brutal film. Its charm rests in its simplicity. Nazis are the bad guys so there are no moral issues as you watch this man rip them apart. The action is phenomenally over the top. The first kill is so impactful that the audience I was with all gasped in unison. And it didn’t stop there, the kills are brutal but also bold in their design. The film is also short on plot, it’s all about a man getting vengeance for something and ultimately it doesn’t matter because you’re enjoying how this man is tearing through these Nazis.

Watching how he survives each tussle with the Nazis is a genuine treat. The film also doesn’t shy away from the gore of the story. In fact, my audience couldn’t help but squirm as wounds were treated quite graphically multiple times throughout the film. Even though this man is deemed ‘The Immortal’ the film doesn’t mind showing him get hurt, quite a lot. I saw the lead character as the spirit of Finland itself. He represented how the Finnish people were knocked down, beaten, left for dead and they will always rise to the challenge.

The score of the film is also quite intimidating. The score is the voice of the lead character and it exemplifies his monstrous hardiness. It’s suffocating and all-encompassing and threatens to swallow the Nazis whole.

The film is a bit messy and at times doesn’t quite live up to its quirky and off-kilter promises. Also, at a certain point, I needed more character from it. It fell a bit short in regard to memorable characters. Sisu is still a hell of a ride through WWII-era Finland.

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