‘Sisu’ Ending, Explained: Did Aatami Korpi Survive? What Happened To The Gold?


The Finnish war action film Sisu is set in 1944 Finland and revolves around a man named Aatami Korpi. A human terminator of sorts, Korpi single-handedly murders one Nazi after another on his way back home. Aatami Korpi is almost a mythical being, and his tales of valor and mayhem have spread far and wide. His rugged appearance complimented the wild stories that the world knew about. During the winter war, when Aatami worked for the special forces, he alone murdered three hundred Russians to seek revenge for the deaths of his family. From then on, Aatami became impossible to control. His vengeance knew no bounds, and he became “a one-man death squad.”

Spoilers Ahead

‘Sisu’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Aatami distanced himself from the Second World War and preferred living alone in the deserted Finnish landscape with his trusted horse and dog. He experienced a mixed feeling of disbelief and joy when he noticed a gold speck while sifting through the river stream. Aatami had finally found what he had been searching for, and he began digging the land around the river for gold. His quest was often interrupted by the buzzing sound of airplane engines and the noise of distant bombing. After days of digging, Aatami finally struck gold. He could not believe his eyes at first, and the moment he grasped it all, his happiness knew no bounds. He stared at the gold with a rifle in his hand, knowing that the journey had just begun. The bruises all across Aatami’s body represented the number of times he was brutally attacked and how he always emerged victorious. His wounds can also be interpreted as the physical manifestation of his troubled soul and the curse of never dying.

The first convoy of Nazi soldiers allowed him to pass, confident that he would eventually be killed. Aatami noticed the hanging bodies as he traveled further. He soon encountered another group of Nazi soldiers, and they were hellbent on finding what Aatami was hiding. As soon as they noticed the gold, they held a gun to his head. Within seconds, Aatami pushed his dagger into one of the Nazi soldiers’ heads, and he was ready to fight the rest. After brutally murdering all four men, Aatami continued his journey. Two Nazi soldiers arrived at the spot in a tank after hearing the gunshots. They realized that the old man they allowed to pass was dangerous, but more importantly, he was a gold miner, and taking him down could be worth their while. The war had nearly come to an end, and the Nazi soldiers were desperate to take home anything valuable that they could get their hands on. Whereas for Aatami, it was important to protect the gold and bring it home. His fight against the Nazis had a nationalistic undertone. Aatami’s fight in Sisu can be interpreted as his way of protecting the dying honor of his nation.

‘Sisu’ Ending Explained: Did Aatami Korpi Bring Home The Gold?

The Nazis chased Aatami to a minefield, and it ended up killing his horse. He tactically escaped the scene by using the scattered mines to his advantage. The SS soldiers used the Finnish women they had held captive as slaves to navigate the minefield. When the soldiers came close, Aatami lit himself on fire and jumped into a lake. Soldiers were sent into the lake to find him, and within seconds, their dead bodies floated on the surface of the water. Aatami was ultimately captured using his dog. The bags of gold were taken from him, and his body was hanged on a pole. While the SS soldiers thought that the threat was over, it was not easy to get rid of Aatami. He balanced himself using a nail; gradually, the rope came off the pole, and Aatami’s life was saved once again. He took care of the two Nazi pilots who landed in the area and attempted to shoot him and his dog. Before flying off to seek revenge, Aatami carefully pulled the metal pieces out of his body. Watching Aatami stitch his wounds at the side of the road to continue the fight was gory yet strangely satisfying. It was almost like a reincarnation—a new body for an old fight.

Aatami did not reveal himself all at once; instead, he built fear within his rivals by using the same rope to kill the Nazi pilot that the soldiers used to hang him. The Finnish women in the truck were confident that Aatami had returned. They had heard his story, and it never ended well for the ones who dared to fight him. The soldiers who dismissed their theory were immediately killed. The women were proved right; Aatami had returned to take his revenge. He armed the women in the truck, and they fought for their freedom. Aatami had killed everyone except the Nazi commander, Bruno. Bruno boarded a plane with his supervisor and was confident that he had escaped the wrath of Aatami. Within seconds of the takeoff, Bruno could sense that Aatami was on the airplane. When he revealed himself, Bruno continuously attacked him out of frustration. For a moment, it seemed that Aatami had given up, but he was instead strategizing to find the perfect way to kill Bruno. He tied him to a missile and dropped it out of the airplane. The missile took off, and Bruno dissolved into the dust.

Sisu ends with Aatami returning home with bags full of gold and his fluffy grey dog by his side. He entered the city bank and poured the gold nuggets on the desk. He asked the accountant to give him cash in exchange. Aatami did not care about getting the right value; he simply wanted cash that he could easily carry along with him. Aatami lived for the adventure, for the thrill of discovery, and at times to fight those who deserved to die. He was not willing to go out of his way to help those in danger, but at the same time, if he came across oppression, he chose to liberate the oppressed.

The fact that Jalmari Helander’s Sisu is not pretentious is what makes it enjoyable. It is a gory spaghetti western about an invincible man who enjoys riding his horse and digging for gold. Even though it is quite mindless to think of it, perhaps the location and the overall timeline helped in creating a realistic framework. With the bare minimum of dialogue, Jorma Tommila was brilliant and convincing as Aatami Korpi. It is difficult to take a mythical hero of sorts in a realistic setting seriously, but Tommila pulls off the absurd. At the very beginning of the film, we are told that the word “Sisu” is almost impossible to translate, but it loosely means to have “unimaginable determination” and extreme courage. When there isn’t any hope left, “Sisu” manifests itself, just as demonstrated by Aatami Korpi. Sisu delivers what it aims to deliver without getting into any undesirable complications, and that is perhaps what makes it work.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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