Daily Archives: Thursday, June 1, 2023

  • Review for ‘SISU’ – 2023 – Director Jalmari Helander – Finnish production.

    Whoever said violence and murder isn’t funny never saw ‘SISU’…

    It began when I was watching a review on YouTube of the upcoming sequel to ‘Becky’, a film I really enjoyed.  The reviewer, ‘Beyond the void horror podcast’ https://www.youtube.com/@btvcast, a YouTube channel I recommend for the enthusiasm alone was making some comparisons to ‘SISU’.  I thought, ‘SISU, what is this, is this an action gore fest?’  I watched the trailer and I thought I had to see this film.  It looked bonkers.  This had been a dry year so far real enthusiasm for a film, for me so far.  Although I have very much enjoyed the variety of S&S company I have gone with.

    The night began with me going for dinner to a Chinese restaurant and having a bowl of PIG’S EARS and some noodles.  I thought I’d never had pig’s ears before and I am a bit of a chancer.  Alas I literally made a pigs ear of it and it was all rather bland but at least that’s something ticked off someone’s bucket list somewhere.  ‘SISU’ on the other hand was not bland although I can understand how some would think it is because they are tired of violence and murderous mayhem.  I on the other hand am not tired of these delicacies and this film delivers so much of it and often in very creative ways.

    ‘SISU’ proudly puts its homages to film history and action/violent tropes front and centre.  There is no message and there is minimal story and its goal is to make the audience to experience a  catharsis through the fear and bloody, violent deaths of the cartoonishy, villainous Nazis who have evil scarred right in to their flesh.  At this the film is far more than successful.  There is very little dialogue in the film which is welcome in a sea of films that rely so much on exposition and our hero says nothing until the end of the film.  The spaghetti western’s man with no name of the 21st century.  This film take many other cues from the Sergio Leone classics including long close ups on rugged faces and its own version of the title cards seen in ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’.  Title cards which gradually deteriorate in conjunction with the on-going suffering of our heroic prospector.  A level of both comical and squeamish levels of suffering that is very much in the vein of John McClane making his way through the Nakatomi plaza.  Realistic it ain’t, so if this is what you are expecting you will be disappointed.  The violence is laugh out loud funny and the film leans in to this, however this does not mean it does not take itself seriously.  No one is playing this for laughs.  The humour comes through in the editing and cinematography.    

    ‘SISU’ is completely a Finnish production although is mostly in English language with just the title and the ending being in Finnish.  Which is fine, most of the characters are supposed to be German Nazis and they don’t speak German.  The cinematography and set design is fantastic.  Like the film it is sparse with spots of destruction which look great.  The music too is simple and satisfying complementing the lead up to and the outbursts of ultra-violence.  The editing is where this film really shines using all the tricks at its disposal.  Slow motion hero shots of armed women coming out of the smoke after being freed from imprisonment and torture.  Close ups of our hero treating his wounds in ways that that will make you squirm in your chair.  He really couldn’t care less about his own body.  My main criticism would come in some of the effects, where the film makers on occasion bite off more than the budget could carry.  Especially on the exteriors of the plane.  Thankfully these were brief moments.

    ‘SISU’ is a blast.  It well deserves the 90% it has on Rotten Tomatoes.  An instant, cult classic