IT’S refreshing to see a film that knows exactly what it is.
And this ultra-violent and adrenaline-packed tale of a man on a Nazi-killing rampage is not hiding behind anything.
It’s brazen, ballsy and, quite simply, brilliant.
Written and directed by Jalmari Helander, Sisu is set in Finland in 1944 where gold miner Aatami (Jorma Tommila) spends his days back-breakingly digging for the shiny stuff in the vast, empty land.
With only a dog and horse as companions, it’s clear Aatami prefers the company of, well, no one.
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Soon his devotion to the lonely life of digging strikes gold. Lashings and lashings of gold.
While he weeps in silent celebration, it’s clear to see Aatami is worried.
He must take his loot to the nearest bank, which is 563 miles away.
This would be hard enough on horseback. But the Nazis patrol the area and they will not only steal the prize, but kill the winner.
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These are the same Nazis that massacred Aatami’s family.
A man with a grudge, however, is a very dangerous man indeed. Oh, and Aatami was such an expert assassin and fighter in a previous life, he has an almost mythical reputation.
It is even discussed — by a group of women the Nazis are keeping prisoner — that he might be immortal.
We soon see his skills put into action as he becomes the target of a tank full of gloating Nazis.
On horse-back and alone, he somehow manages to outsmart his enemies and defeat the gun-heavy mob.
It’s a wonder to behold. The cartoonish way the violence is performed helps with the relentless attacks — think Kill Bill goes to war.
The beginning of the film explains the word “sisu” does not have a specific meaning in Finnish, but it roughly translates as a white-knuckled form of courage in desperate moments.
And that is something that Aatami has plenty of.
Even when completely outnumbered, he never gives in.
Most of his targets are generic villains, but the standouts are troop leader Bruno Helldorf (Aksel Hennie) and his vile rapist sidekick Wolf (Jack Doolan).
With barely any dialogue, but a hell of a lot of action, Aatami Vs Nazis is perfectly packed into an hour and a half.
This crisp, sharp, unashamed film is a pot of gold.
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SEVERAL banks have been robbed at gunpoint and witnesses have no memory of what happened.
Enter Detective Danny Rourke, played by Ben Affleck in a brilliantly brutal performance in this action-packed thriller.
Rourke discovers strangers have been hypnotised into carrying out the raids.
And after a tip-off about a safety deposit box that will be targeted next, he lies in wait.
But the mystery deepens when the box wanted by the robbers turns out to contain a photo of his daughter, who had previously been abducted.
His investigation takes him to the tarot card shop of “two-bit con artist” Diana Cruz (Alice Braga), where he finds out about a US defence programme called Hypnotic.
There are yet more tantalising twists that show not everything is as it seems.
A must-see for fans of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, this Robert Rodriguez film is clever without boggling viewers like Nolan’s follow-up movie Tenet.
Fast-paced and thrilling, the only downfall is a slightly underwhelming ending.
But fans will never see it coming.
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THE LITTLE MERMAID
FEW Disney films have attracted such criticism ahead of release as The Little Mermaid.
Thousands furiously posted #NotMyAriel in response to the character being portrayed by a woman of colour.
But the film’s leading lady, Halle Bailey, will silence critics with her enchanting voice and performance.
The actress and singer breathes new life into Ariel in this remake which is truly modern in many ways.
It should be applauded for featuring merpeople from all backgrounds, for not airbrushing out Halle’s acne scars and for carefully referencing ocean pollution.
The cast deliver stellar performances, especially the monstrous Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and the ever-great Javier Bardem as King Triton.
Director Rob Marshall’s team also create a stunning aquatic world of beautiful corals and tropical fish.
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Classic hits are given a good refresh by Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of West End musical Hamilton.
But at more than two hours long, the film could do with some trimming, such as Prince Eric’s awkward autotuned solo and bizarre boyband dancing.
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