SISU of the title is an untranslatable word that has to do with not giving up even when you know that everything is against you and your back is against the wall and facing certain death. It is a quality that the hero of the film has in spades. Aatamiis a man who had his family killed by war. He then became a killing machine the Russians called The Immortal because he wouldn’t die. When a German soldier asks one of his prisoners is asked if Aatami is indeed immortal he is told “no. He just refuses to die.”
When SISU opens Aatami has had enough of war and wandered off to prospect for gold in Lapland. After striking it rich he runs into some retreating German soldiers who decide that they are going to take the gold for themselves. To say it was a bad mistake would be a grand understatement, and it’s a move that results in a running battle which will leave all of the Germans dead.
That is not a spoiler.
SISU is a violent nihilistic, often very funny, spaghetti western refashioned as a mean and nasty nihilistic Euro-war film from the 1970’s but with today's sensibilities. It’s a film that if it came out in the 1970’s and played in Grindhouses would have ended up with legendary status with tales of crazed happenings as the audiences cheered and threw up. As such it is a film that demands to be seen in a crowded theater with an audience ready for insanity.
While the film is over the top, it doesn’t go completely into unreality until the final set piece. Everything before that is kind of possible. We end up buying the end of the film because we have seen everything that has gone before so the action conclusion is a “sure why not” instead of a “WTF”.
I need to warn you all the violence is graphic; people and animals die horribly. Blood flows. The thought of suffering some of the wounds will make you wince. Be prepared.
Aatami is a killer character. He is John Wick on steroids (The line I mentioned above about Aatamiis refusing to die is a classic line second only to the John Wick line about Wick being the one you send to kill the boogeyman.). The line in Predator about not having time to bleed would be a gross understatement here. Aatami doesn’t have time to die.
This film is totally batshit crazy and I loved it.
Highly recommend it.
Let’s hope it makes a mint and they never make a sequel.
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