Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, TheReviewed By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 02/07/19 16:11:48
(Worth A Look)
There are so many films out there, especially in the VOD universe, with deliberately ridiculous names that are in no way matched in terms of ambition or ingenuity by the movies themselves (including pretty much every low-budget CGI shark movie to emerge in the last decade or so) that it comes as a weird and welcome surprise to discover that “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” actually manages to live up to the promise of its admittedly unforgettable title.The man, by the way, is Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott), he is an old man with no family save for a younger brother (Larry Miller) spending yet another night sitting alone in a local bar. Our first indication that there is more to Calvin than meets the eye comes when he is accosted by a trio of carjackers and beats them all down without hardly breaking a sweat. The second indication comes when he is visited by an FBI official (Ron Livingston) and a representative of the Canadian government (Rizwan Manji) with a fantastic story and proposal. As it turns out, the fabled Bigfoot is not only real but residing in the Canadian wilderness. Unfortunately, the creature is carrying a mysterious plague that, if unleashed, could wipe out most of humanity unless it is brought down. Although Calvin is of advanced age, he has two qualities that make him the most viable candidate to track and kill the creature—he apparently has an immunity in his blood to the disease that Bigfoot is carrying and, more importantly, they know that he is the man who, decades earlier. single-handedly killed Hitler and has kept that astonishing bit of news a secret ever since.
Now this premise may sound complete crazy but one of the most intriguing things about this effort from debuting writer-director Robert D. Krzykowski is that it takes this undeniably outlandish material—the title pretty much says it all—and treats it in a surprisingly straightforward and oddly thoughtful manner. Even before getting his assignment, Calvin finds himself flashing back to memories of his younger self (where he is played by Aidan Turner), the perilous mission that he undertook and his realization of how meaningless it proved to be, especially in the way in which it interfered with the blossoming relationship with the love of his life, schoolteacher Maxine (Caitlin Fitzgerald). All of these feelings come to the surface again as he sets off to track another seemingly impossible target, creating a character made up of equal parts old-school masculinity and modern-day soul-searching that is undeniably intriguing. Granted, this largely low-key approach may frustrate those attracted to the film by the implicit campiness of the title but those looking for a little more than a bunch of silly jokes should still find it rewarding.Most of that is due to the strong performance at its center by the great Sam Elliott, the celebrated character actor who has gotten a little more notice in the last couple of years thanks to his rare lead role in the drama “The Hero” and his Oscar-nominated turn in “A Star is Born.” If you were going to make a list of current actors who could plausibly play a character who kills both Hitler and Bigfoot, he would be at the top of a very short list. More importantly, he finds just the right dry and laconic tone for the role—instead of letting viewers in on the fact that the whole thing is palpably ridiculous, he plays Calvin with a level of quiet dignity and thoughtfulness that is so compelling and pervasive that it can be felt even in the flashback sequences in which Elliott himself is not actually present. “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” is certainly a odd movie but it is also a surprisingly charming and earnest one to boot—a smart and captivating depiction of a man coming to terms with the decisions that have informed his life that just happens to have one of the wildest titles in recent movie memory.
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