World War II is the setting of Jalmari Helander’s English-language film.
As plain as its title, Sisu promises a bare-knuckle thriller based on bare-knuckle action and delivers on it.
Aatami (Jorma Tommila) has found a stash of gold that he plans to protect at any cost. His English-language movie is set during World War II, when Nazis ravaged a battle-ravaged land and some money-minded Finns existed. Even if a Nazi battalion is on his trail, what does that matter?
Aatami – part Boris the Blade and part John Wick – carries on. Sisu moves swiftly from one mayhem-filled moment to another. The film efficiently rolls out its surprises, with squelching guts and exploding entrails enhanced by minimal dialogue. Instead, we are invited to marvel at how Aatami lives up to his reputation as an immortal.
We don’t need or want to know anything about Aatami’s back story. There is some verbosity devoted to his back story, but that is a bad idea. The lack of personality of Jorma Tommila ensures no interest in Aatami and all attention to his innovative methods of dispatch. Aksel Hennie, as Bruno, is at least more entertaining.
After having exhausted all possibilities but compelled to stretch the film to 93 minutes, Helander allows himself to have a laugh or two after having exhausted all possibilities. A few extra points for knowing when Sisu is over, and full marks for economy. Sisu transitions from unlikely survival drama to straight-out farce by the end credits.