“Sisu” — Great Film Or Phenomenal Trailer?

The other day I had the delight of seeing a preview in the theaters I hadn’t yet caught at home or online. Normally trailers don’t get me amped up for a movie and give away far too much of the plot to get me excited. That all changed after unexpectedly watching the lead in for Sisu.

What starts out as a nondescript period piece about an old man striking gold in the middle of 1944 Finnish wilderness, immediately morphs into Nazi destroying gore and carnage. It’s a popcorn movie through and through that leans very hard into what the people want to see… dead bad guys. As stated during the trailer, it’s from the team that brought us John Wick, so the recipe for a light on dialogue and heavy on action feature, looks to be all but guaranteed. 

What Indiana Jones proved to us time and again is that the best movie villains are Nazis. The army of swastika clad, goose steppers is not a body that anyone has any empathy or sorrow for when utterly obliterated on screen. In fact, the gorier and more comical their deaths, the better. 

Perhaps it is the only karma that we as humans can retroactively lay upon them for their atrocities or the fact that their empire at one time was so broad in range, that they can be a globally hated entity.

In any case, Sisu’s two minute and twenty four second preview for its feature makes an absolute meal out of the WWII German bad guys. Between tanks, pick axes, landmines, planes, and motorcycles, there’s no doubt this is going to be an action heavy film. Our only hope is that the best parts haven’t all been shown to us already.

Will the film actually be good? That’s anybody’s guess. We’ve all been fooled by good advertising before I’m sure. The trailer itself though is a work of art. The build is fantastic. It takes us directly from a call to action and hero’s journey to be immediately met by protagonists, all in the first 30 seconds. 

We’re then met with hard rock tones and symphonic notes in a bloody action montage teasing our hero’s hidden past and abilities. The man never speaks and has no apparent name. All lore is built through 3rd person narration telling us that he’s an absolute badass as he executes Nazis before our eyes. 

It’s got a bronze age, mythological vibe in its storytelling as we watch our silent warrior take on what looks to be an entire platoon, outmatched and outgunned with only wits, and Sisu, which apparently translates to “epic tenacity” or “the art of inner strength”.

The action of this piece builds larger and larger as do the vehicles and deaths, culminating in what appears to be some sort of Mission Impossible, James Bond, styled plane takeoff hijacking sequence. Two separate film review sites give ringing endorsements of the film, which usually mean nothing other than they’ve been paid to do so, but in the fashion they’re spliced into the trailer, they only make it look more appealing.

Whoever cut this film’s preview needs a raise and more work. They’re an artist. They’ve already got me to plan my springtime movie dollars around it. We’ll hold our breath and pray that it is as gory and over the top as it’s been made to look from this little taste. Sisu lands in theaters April 28th. Limited release, so catch it where you can.