Sisu (2023) Blu-ray Review

Jul 17, 2023 04:01 PM EST
By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Sisu is not for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach it, it's a well-made film worthy of your time.

If the saying, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" is true, then "never get in the middle of an old Finnish Military man and his gold", should also be an accurate statement. Hence, the premise behind the film Sisu.  While the word 'Sisu' has no direct English translation, the Finnish describe it as stoic determination, tenacity, a sense of purpose, grit, bravery, perseverance, resilience, and hardiness.  In a sense, it is sort of the idea of thriving through adversity by any means necessary, which perfectly describes Aatami Korpi  (Jorma Tommila; Big Game), the protagonist in this action film.

Set in 1944, Sisu tells the tale of Korpi, a decorated war hero who is now a gold prospector in the Finnish Lapland.  After digging up a large deposit of gold, Korpi is bringing his haul to the city to "cash in" when he crosses paths with German Soldiers who are destroying towns as they retreat to Norway.  Initially unconcerned, the platoon lets Korpi pass unharmed but, after he kills several other soldiers who discovered his gold, the platoon doubles back in an attempt to kill Korpi and take the gold for themselves.

A skilled and ruthless soldier, Korpi manages to evade the troops while systematically eliminating them one at a time.  When they find his dog tags, the Germans learn he has a reputation as a one-man death machine who has been nicknamed "Koschei" (The Immortal). As Korpi returns to his home though, he finds it burned to the ground by the Germans, who, with the aid of Korpi's dog, track him there and hang him.  Using his wounds, Korpi manages to free himself from the noose, track down his enemies, kill them, and retrieve his gold.

Tommila beautifully portrays Korpi and manages to make his rage known without uttering a word until the very end of the movie.  His facial expressions and body language say everything he feels until he walks into the bank in Helsinki to cash in his gold.  Director Jalmari Helander (Big Game) uses his silence as an effective tool to focus on the action and Tommila's rage.  It also accentuates a sense of stillness and desolation of the vast and cold landscape of the Lapland. The supporting cast is pretty good but the audience's attention is directed towards Tommila, as it should be.  

The Blu-ray release has very good picture quality for a 1080p resolution and an aspect ratio of 2.39:1.  Every frame is crisp and clean but it makes me wonder what a 4K version of the film might look like, especially the fighting/killing sequences. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio is, perhaps the best part of the technical aspects of Sisu.  Ambient noise assaults the viewer from every angle. From dogs barking to gunshots in the distance, the audio is extremely well done. Sadly, the combo pack only comes with 2 extras.  They are: Indestructible: Making Sisu and Pushing the Boundaries of Reality: The Visual Effects of Sisu.

It is a good thing Sisu only has a ninety-one-minute run time because I'm not sure most audiences could handle much more as it is gory. In the grand scheme of films, there are bloody action movies and slasher movies and there are supernatural and demonic satanic-type movies that tend to be a little more sadistic than the aforementioned gory/slasher ones.  And then there is Sisu.  I have never seen such graphically descriptive killing visuals and their aftermath before but when you are looking at the entrails of a horse that has just stepped on a landmine, you know this film is on a whole other level of gore.

Sisu is not for the faint of heart but if you can stomach it, it's a well-made film, worthy of your time.

Grade: A-

Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 91 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate

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For more information about Sisu visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Sisu images are courtesy of Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.




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