SISU – Movie Review Featuring Interview With Director Jalmari Helander

SISU delivers a truly gritty action film.

Jorma Tommila in SISU.

Jalmari Helander, the Finnish filmmaker, writer, and director, has a new film called SISU hitting theaters this weekend. He is best known for his distinctive style and ability to blend genres in his movies. Helander has had a passion for filmmaking since he was a child growing up on 80s action movies that featured stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He first gained international recognition for his 2010 Christmas-themed horror-comedy film “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.” In 2014, he directed “Big Game,” an action-adventure film starring Samuel L. Jackson, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Helander has been praised throughout his career for his unique vision and ability to create compelling characters and thrilling narratives that keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Watch my interview with Jalmari Helander below!


During the last desperate days of WWII, a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover they have just tangled with no ordinary miner. While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds. And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back — even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.

Ever wondered what a film would look like if you blended Mad Max and John Wick? You would get this film SISU starring Jorma Tommila and Aksel Hennie. Action movie lovers may have found their newest favorite popcorn flick. It delivers brutal and gory action with Western vibes in 90 minutes. Despite being gritty, this film utilizes a beautiful Finland landscape and does not use green screens. The cinematography is impressive as it puts the spotlight on an unhabitable countryside.

The film is set during WWII and has Tommilla’s Clint Eastwood-esque character exacting his revenge on the Nazis satisfyingly and entertainingly. Jalmari balances intensity and suspense as we follow a man and his adorable dog to complete their initial mission. Nothing is held back from delivering one of the best modern action films.


I give SISU 4 out of 5 stars. This hyper-violent action film provides satisfying entertainment and is an easy crowd-pleaser for those that enjoy the genre. Watch SISU in theaters beginning April 28th, 2023. Read more Reviews on Nerdtropolis and Subscribe to our YouTube.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sean Tajipour is the Founder and Editor of Nerdtropolis and the host of the Moviegoers Society Podcast. He is also a member of the Critics Choice Association. You can follow on Twitter and Instagram @Seantaj.

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