The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot

Release: Friday, February 8, 2019 (limited)

→ Redbox

Written by: Robert D. Krzykowski

Directed by: Robert D. Krzykowski

With a title as extravagant as The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot it’s hard not to build up some extravagant expectations. Maybe you’d assume this is an adaptation of an obscure graphic novel you’ve never heard of, something akin to V for Vendetta, or a righteously vicious midnight movie where the last one left standing is the audience in ovation.

Well, hate to say it but if you’re in bloodlust right now this movie just won’t do. Robert Krzykowski’s directorial début is more of a melancholic character piece than a slicked in dudesweat thrill ride to the edge of sanity. The good news is that it’s well worth seeking out, you just may need to be in the mood for something more quirky than straight-up crazy. This is a movie that unabashedly marches to the beat of its own idiosyncratic drum, and in so doing it largely and surprisingly steers clear of the expected, i.e. bloody machismo.

The story tells of the eventful life of a mysterious man named Calvin Barr and focuses on him in two different eras. The flashback-heavy first half gives us a glimpse of who he was, a young American spy/assassin sent on a highly classified and dangerous mission into the heart of Nazi Germany to take out the Führer. He’s played here by Aidan Turner who offers a convincing younger visage. By way of a small supporting turn from Caitlin Fitzgerald it also teases the life he might have led had he never shipped out.

All of this is filtered through the memories of Sam Elliott‘s world-weary, retired veteran in the present day. It is this version of the character we first meet, nursing a whisky at a bar. As he stares the drink down like it owes him money he disappears into his thoughts, taking us with him. After the war Calvin returned with some pretty big secrets and so retreated to a small town somewhere near the Canadian border where he’s spent most of his time minding his own business, contending with the occasional carjacking punk and the pebble that just won’t get out of his boot. His golden retriever has remained his most trusted confidante. If self-exile looks lonely, the feeling is certainly no reward for someone who ostensibly saved western civilization (and who will end up doing it twice).

At least it’s peaceful. But then all that gets trampled on by the Feds (Ron Livingston and Rizwan Manji) suddenly appearing on his doorstep. They’re seeking the legendary Nazi-slayer for his help in bringing down the one they call Bigfoot, whose (yes, actual) existence would be nothing more than a pretty cool photo op for any passerby were it not for the deadly virus the creature is lumbering around with. Calvin, finding himself once more exploited by Uncle Sam, must confront his painful past and the unsavory prospect of doing things he swore he’d never do again. What more of himself is he willing to sacrifice to someone, something that never says thanks?

The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot is preoccupied with grand concepts of heroism, legends and myths and how a lot of mountains are made out of mole hills when it comes to the way we preserve and pass down stories through the generations. Krzykowski doesn’t wax too philosophical on any of those ideas but they’re perceptible enough. What I found much more intriguing (and more pronounced) is the story’s attitude towards violence, what it does to the perpetrator, morally and emotionally. The journey is almost a shying away from violence rather than an enthusiastic march toward it. Yet an air of inevitability seeps into every scene. The Great Mustachioed One may not dominate the screen in movie minutes but he’s clearly the one in charge here, his down-home style of acting the ideal fit for the tone Krzykowski is uh, gunning for. Elliott has more gravitas than the rest of the cast combined — and yes that does include The Abominable Snowman, whose sickly appearance is both grotesque and just the teensiest bit sad.

Oh. Deer.

Recommendation: A far more mellow movie in action than its title suggests, The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot works best as a meditation on aging, regret and the ravages of time. Features a very sturdy, introspective Sam Elliott performance at its core, which goes a long way in helping us stay connected. 

Rated: NR

Running Time: 98 mins.

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20 thoughts on “The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot

  1. Pingback: Month in Review: May ’19 | Thomas J

  2. hmph I can’t reply to your older posts, it says they are closed? =/

    That 30 for 30 doc looked great. It should be on AU ESPN soon, the last one we had was about a Dominican basketball player. Don’t know his name but I bloody missed it, gotta find somewhere to watch that.

    Also, in reply to another post of yours, how cool was March Madness!! Virginia are a SOLID team. Its great watching college ball cos the players actually listen to their coaches. Its refreshing!!

    oh, and Ben Simmons. What do you think of him? I can’t help but follow Philly now cos he is there, but he can’t shoot from fucking six feet! He really is useless in half court. I hope Jimmy and Tobias don’t leave. They were so close. They need to hire the best shooting coach available for Ben, pronto

    End rant! Hope you are well. Looks like we are both posting sporadically, though I wish I had more of an audience!!


    • Yeah sorry about that man, I have had a 30 day limit set on my posts for about the last year or so now, it just helps me keep track of the comments. I figure that after about the one/two week mark most of the traffic that is going to view a post has already come and gone. It’s so rare for me to be getting feedback more than 3 weeks after I’ve published so I decided to create a window for comments. That will be in place for the foreseeable future I think.

      As for the Bob Knight documentary — an absolutely must-see for fans of college ball! I would agree with you on the point that it’s nice to see younger players actually accepting coaching, actively listening and wanting to be pushed — whereas in the NBA they’re all so blown out on their own egotism they think they’re above coaching (or a great many do anyway). I do find that obnoxious. And a movie like this, that really gets into some of the dirty shit Knight did at Indiana, really gives you an idea of how far players are willing to go to “be coached.” Pretty disturbing when a coach ascends to this level of power.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Huh, I saw the title of this and passed, but it sounds like its worth a watch, even for a laugh. Sounds like it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is kinda needed with a title like this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t call it a comedy but then I also wouldn’t say it “takes itself seriously” either, at least not overly seriously. It’s a melancholic piece with some big ideas going on, and if you like Sam Elliott then I think the movie will hold up well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A little bit of a walk on the weird side, and I liked that about it. Felt like it could have used some more punching up in the excitement department but there’s no denying Sam Elliott holds it together well.

      Liked by 1 person

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