Original title:Sisu
Director:Jalmari Helander
Running time:91 minutes
Release date:28 april 2023
Finland, 1944. In the hostile wilderness of Nazi-occupied Lapland, a former soldier discovers a gold deposit. Ready to do anything to save his precious booty, he will stop at nothing, even if it means murdering the last SS man standing in his way.

Mulder's Review

Finnish director, screenwriter and visual effects artist Jalmari Helander captured our attention with his first fantasy film, offering an innovative take on Santa Claus. "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) explored the darker aspects of the Christmas legend, combining elements of horror, humor and adventure. His second film Big Game (2014) was set in the wilds of Finland and featured a young child who must ally himself with the President of the United States after Air Force One is shot down by terrorists. 

His third film, Sisu, confirms the high regard in which we hold this director and screenwriter, who, quite simply, has produced one of the best action films of the year, mixing westerns, war films and adventure movies with a stylized approach reminiscent in some respects of comic-book aesthetics. While John Wick: Chapter 4 was a huge success with audiences and critics worldwide, we didn't expect to find an equally violent and perfectly choreographed action film this year. 

After the opening credits explain the film's setting (the end of the Second World War) in Finland, we discover a lonely old gold prospector, Aatami Korpi (Jorma Tommila), who after finding a huge vein of gold decides to go to the bank to sell it. Unfortunately, his path crosses that of a convoy of Nazis. When they steal his gold, they soon discover that they're not dealing with an ordinary miner, but with a highly-trained soldier who lost his wife and children during the war. No matter how hard the Nazi army tries to stop him, it's all in vain, because Aatami Korpi is the epitome of Sisu (a form of unfailing courage and determination).

Sisu may not have the budget of a current American blockbuster, but Petri Jokiranta's skilful script is perfectly mastered, and the film's division into several chapters seems to be a nod to certain Quentin Tarantino films, as well as 80s action movies such as the Rambo saga or Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger. We also suspect that Aatami Korpi is paying homage in its own way to the John Wick film saga. Sisu is also very violent, and benefits from a certain amount of humor and the thrill of seeing an entire army of Nazis exterminated by an over-trained soldier who doesn't speak (except towards the very end of the film) and who seems as invulnerable as a psychopathic killer like Jason Voorghes.

Although the film is available on VOD in the U.S. (notably on the Amazon website), we regret that it has been released too late in France, so you'll have to be patient until June 21, 2023 to discover it in theaters. We can only advise you to discover Sisu in theaters as soon as it's released, otherwise you'll miss out on an excellent film that has everything it takes to become a cult hit...

Written and directed by Jalmari Helander
Produced by Petri Jokiranta
Starring Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo
Cinematography : Kjell Lagerroos
Edited by Juho Virolainen
Music by Juri Seppä, Tuomas Wäinölä
Production companies: Subzero Film Entertainment, Stage 6 Films, Good Chaos
Distributed by Nordisk Film (Nordic countries), Lionsgate (North America), Sony Pictures (International)
Release dates: 9 September 2022 (TIFF), 27 January 2023 (Finland), 28 April 2023 (United States), June 21 2023 (France)
Running time : 91 minutes

Viewed on 01 June 2023 (VOD)

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