Sisu: Is the 2023 Movie Inspired by Real War Events?

‘Sisu’ revolves around an ex-soldier who discovers gold in Lapland, Finland, but loses it to Nazi soldiers. However, they do not know of his caliber as a fighter and pay the price when he goes against them as a one-man army. He has all the determination in the world to take the regime down, one by one, even if it means dying in the process. The Finnish and English language action war film is helmed by Jalmari Helander, who masterfully showcases the grit and might of the ex-commando. If you were enthralled by this riveting movie and want to know the truth behind its story, we’ve got you covered!

Sisu: A Tale Partially Based on True History

‘Sisu’ is partially based on real-life events and centers around Lapland War, which occurred in 1944. The war was fought between Finland and Nazi Germany; it commenced in September 1944 and ended in April 1945. After the war, Germany withdrew from Finland, and these events inspired Jalmari Helander to amalgamate and write a fictional story with the Lapland War as its setting. The war is a significant and proud event in Finland’s history, and it was fought in the northernmost part of the country.

At the time, the Finnish army was fighting on two fronts against the Soviet Union and the Germans. Initially, Germany and Finland mutually decided not to engage as the latter fought with the Soviet Union. However, as soon as the tide was against Germany, Finland reportedly decided to take the peaceful route with the USSR. This move did not sit well with the German forces, and they launched a surprise attack on Finland to capture Lapland. However, the Finnish army was able to draw them out by force, and their enemies had to retaliate due to their dwindling supplies.

By the end of the war, the Germans retreated across the border to Norway. In an interview, when Jalmari was asked about the origins of the story and whether the character or concept came first, he said, “I remember having two images in my head when the idea clicked a few years ago. Both images are still in the film. One of them was a man finding gold in this pit, and the second was a man being on a horse facing a tank in the middle of nowhere. I started from there.”

Jalmari also jokingly admitted to not doing any research about the artillery and weapons because the movie is not supposed to be a documentary. He was open about the creative freedom he had due to the World War II storyline, which allowed him to integrate epic villains, costumes, old vehicles, and guns into the film. Jalmari also spoke about his process and how ideas flow to him when he’s walking and not actually sitting down to write. He believes that slouching in front of a laptop every single day is not as productive as a writer, and other activities are necessary to acquire new ideas.

He came up with the script during the pandemic when the world was in lockdown. Moreover, he’s happy with the movie and believes it brought a positive change in him and increased his intrapersonal awareness. Jalmari also discussed the technical aspects, such as how he incorporated war tanks into the film. He said, “It was hard to get the tank where we needed it to be because we were shooting so far up north. It’s a long way from here. So to get the tank, there was expensive and time-consuming and all that. But the tank worked perfectly, and I never had any problems with the tanks or cars or motorcycles.”

In addition to that, the filmmaker also shared his experience of working in unpredictable weather conditions and including military-grade equipment. In conclusion, ‘Sisu’ is a well-crafted and entertaining cinematic piece that offers a unique perspective on historical events with an added layer of fiction. It captures the resilience and determination of the Finnish people while making it an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

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