Sisu Is Great Grindhouse Cinema


Set in 1944, Sisu follows the story of Finland’s disarmament of the Nazis as the Second World War draws to a close. The Nazis adopt a scorched earth approach, destroying everything in their path. They come across an old miner with gold. Unfortunately, the seasoned miner’s skill are unmatched, leaving absolute destruction in his wake as he dominates the battlefield.

Sisu Character

Aatami Korpi (Jorma Tommila) is an ex-Finnish commando who spends his later years away from society, mining. Once he hits the motherlode, he makes his way into town, but Nazis cross his path. The Nazis eventually discover what Aatami possesses and are after him to get the reward. He adapts quickly and with ease to the war zone, instilling fear in the hearts of his adversaries while continuing to outdo himself with each scene, surpassing the one seen before it. He was a tough old man, immortal or not; Hollywood cinema has always depicted the older tough guy stereotype, but this man took the cake. He survived beatings, explosions, and even being set on fire.

I can imagine this is how every baby boomer sees themselves while talking about the adversity he or she went through and pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. He was literally pulling metal shrapnel from his body and burning his wounds. Whatever that person’s diet was, we could use more of it.


Bruno Helldorf (Aksel Hennie) and Wolf (Jack Doolan) were perfectly portrayed as devious and greedy Nazi villains due to the length of the runtime. They kept a caravan full of women and shot anything that moved. the Nazis in the movie are really just spineless thugs with firearms. One should know their team is losing if they have to use a tank to fire endless rounds on one person and still not drop them. Once they kept chasing the old man, it was only a matter of time before every last one of them just added to the score feed. Seeing the women get assisted by Aatami with firearms to free themselves, turning the remaining soldiers into Swiss cheese, was a “hell yeah” moment. The Nazis were basically on a suicide mission and the leader went out with a bang.

Sisu Thoughts

Recent European action movies have been providing the lack of toxic masculinity that has been needed lately. Films such as The Northsman and Sisu have made it obvious that the movie landscape is missing off-the-wall, non-superhero heroics. This is a Finnish movie directed by Jalmari Helander, who also directed Big Game and Rare Exports. I remember watching Rare Exports years ago and seeing that he was behind this, and knowing the setting of the story, I knew I was going to like this movie. Even though it’s a foreign movie, mostly spoken in English, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. It’s not like a war or period drama – it’s more of a grindhouse picture where the hero has an objective that another person is preventing them from achieving. The enemies get thrown into the blender and the protagonist resumes as if nothing had happened.

Nowadays, it’s not hard to miss the messages of these movies. As I mentioned earlier, the old man is here to excite the young men of our current time and telling them to adopt the Sisu approach instead of lying flat and being hopeless.

Sisu is a Finnish word that cannot be translated; it means a white-knuckle form of courage and unimaginable determination that only appears when all hope is lost.

Sisu Movie Score 8 out of 10

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