The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot is a moniker for the ages, and if one jumps to conclusions this tale, headlined by Sam Elliott, would be a pulp infused guilty pleasure. But looks can be deceiving, and writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski takes a huge gamble with his narrative and, from where I sit, absolutely succeeds.
Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) is the type of guy who closes down the bar, lost in thought, ready to traverse the dark night sans a soul in sight. He’s a solitary guy, and aside from his dog and his barber/brother Ed (Larry Miller), social interaction is few and far between.
Writer/director Robert Krzykowski gives us two stories for the price of one, as the feature spends a healthy time in the past when a younger Barr (Aidan Turner) was in love with a kindhearted gal named Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald). Their storybook romance, however, has to take a backseat as Barr is commissioned to assassinate Hitler. Being a hero with an undeniable skill definitely has its price. Though he’s served his country well, Barr has one regret that he may never live down, and even if he did kill Hitler, Barr doesn’t have the strength to simply close a chapter.
An FBI agent named Flap Pin (Ron Livingston) comes a calling, as he has the inside scoop on Barr’s top secret accomplishment. He asks for Barr’s services to help him kill the Bigfoot and, though initially hesitant, our protagonist accepts the deal.
The title, as my podcast partner Anderson Cowan pointed out, is an actual spoiler. Why watch a movie that spells out exactly what’s going to happen?
The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot should probably be retitled Time Remains Undefeated, since the film, at its very heart, is a rumination on how the vagaries of fate can gradually leave us numb to the very core. The man who kills the Bigfoot isn’t the same guy who assassinated Hitler, as the elderly Barr has all but given up on life. If he didn’t have his brother and his dog, maybe Barr would simply drink himself to oblivion or find some other way to expedite the inevitable meeting with The Grim Reaper.
Sam Elliott fans should definitely check this film out, as he delivers a subtle and, at times, heartbreaking performance as Barr, and it’s easily my favorite performance from the actor (I still haven’t seen his work in 2017’s The Hero). Krzykowski, who spent 12 years developing this film until finally hitting paydirt, enlisted Douglas Trumbull (Silent Running, Blade Runner) for the film’s visual effects, and both Trumbull and filmmaker John Sayles (Matewan, Eight Men Out) are executive producers. Having Trumbull and Sayles shows Krzykowski has great taste in collaborators, and the film’s mature approach to pulp storytelling also feels like a throwback to a different era of filmmaking.
There is a slight buyer beware to the proceedings, however, as viewers expecting a no-holds barred action film with over the top dialogue may be disappointed. Krzykowski is more much more interested in the human side of things, and I ended up heavily invested in Barr’s fate throughout the tale.
Rating: 4 out 5
On this month’s episode of CinemAddicts, Anderson and I had absolutely opposite opinions on the flick (in short, I loved it and he didn’t). Check out our latest installment below (our discussion of The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot starts at 54:12):
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot hits theaters, VOD and Digital HD on February 8.