The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Epic Pictures
Written and directed by Robert D. Krzykowski
2018, 98 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest European premiere on 26th August 2018
Sam Elliot as Calvin Barr
Aiden Turner as Calvin Barr
Ron Livingston as Flag Pin
Caitlin FitzGerald as Maxine
Move over most interesting man in the world, Sam Elliot's here to claim the mantle. Years after covertly assassinating Hitler during World War II to no acclaim, an ageing military man attempts to come to terms with his twilight years. Eschewing the usual dull twinkly pursuits, the moustachioed macho man fills his day lone-drinking and going for haircuts, aimless in life and alone. And then the government comes calling, with one last mission for the master hunter. No spoilers, it's all there in the title.
Forget comparisons to the likes of Logan or Inglourious Basterds, this one moves more at Bubba Ho-Tep's speed; a quiet character study centred more on its lead performer(s) rather than their titular assassination missions. Sam Elliot is old Calvin, Aiden Turner his younger self. While it delivers everything its title promises (not a spoiler), the bloodshed and action is at a minimum, the grizzled soul-searching dialled up to the hilt.
As old Calvin, Elliot is as commanding as one would expect. His role is a familiar trope, but it's one that fits him and his magnificent moustache perfectly. Just the one action sequence is enough to establish his badassness, as Calvin dispatches a group of would-be carjackers early on in the film. 'Poldark' Turner is a less obvious choice for young Calvin, but he sells it well enough and, luckily, doesn't have to try and match Elliot for his facial hair. The film tic-tocs between the two Calvin Barrs and their respective hunt for Hitler and Bigfoot, neither playing out quite as you'd imagine.
Hitler and Bigfoot may sit on the fringes of this surprisingly gentle story, but their presence is felt, and these elements of both narratives – if far too brief – are very well done. The budget can't quite handle the latter, but the effort is appreciated. While the World War II element is given its due (particularly during the brilliant opening sequence) writer and director Robert D. Krzykowski's refusal to deliver the genre goods is a frequent frustration.
This might make for challenging viewing to those tuning in just to see Sam Elliot battle Bigfoot in the woods, but it's a nice genre twist stapled onto a heartfelt, melancholy indie feature. Krzykowski could have quite easily have excised all of the Hitler and Bigfoot stuff and still been left with a touching, likeable drama film on its other merits. Ultimately, I respected it more than I liked it, but I liked it a lot.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot is not the film most will have expected, but it is more substantial than that (probably). A slow, sad, bittersweet study on the folly of trying to recapture one's youth, what it lacks in action, it more than recoups from its leading man's carefully grizzled performance.