The title says it all. It’s hard to write a spoiler-free review when the entire plot is in the title, but The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot will still draw audiences curious as to how he killed Hitler and why he killed Bigfoot. Yet viewers will be surprised when they realize the real question: what are the mental ramifications on said man?
Sam Elliott, famous for his deep, soothing voice and bushy white moustache, is Calvin Barr, a WWII veteran with a dark secret: he’s responsible for the death of Adolf Hitler. You’d think he’d be hailed as a hero after returning from the war. Instead, he was forced to keep his mouth shut about the whole operation.
Forty years later, Calvin is cursed to living a life of solitude. He has no friends, except for his loyal dog and his little brother Ed (Larry Miller), the local barber. Everything around Calvin triggers memories of the war, where he had to go undercover as an SS officer to get close enough to his target. When he’s not thinking about that one time he killed Hitler, he’s remembering more pleasant memories of the love of his life Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald) and his repeated failed attempts to propose to her before shipping off. Unfortunately too, their story doesn’t have the happiest of endings.
Despite being a shadow of the man he used to be, Calvin has still retained his combat training. When three thugs try to rob him in the parking lot, he effortlessly knocks each of them to the ground. And yet, Calvin is not a violent person. For the most part, he is selfless and honest. “When an honest man is honest, he’s honest.”
Little does Calvin know, he’s being trailed by government agents in a black car, observing his every move. One fateful night, he’s paid a visit by the FBI and the RCMP. They have heard of his past exploits and want to offer him a rather bizarre request: find and kill the Bigfoot, or risk the end of the world. He reluctantly accepts, being the only one who can pull off such a mission. Armed with only a rifle and a knife, Calvin ventures into the Canadian wilderness, where he will play a game of cat and mouse with the creature of legend.
Strangely, the assassination plots are not the main focus of the movie. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot is more about the melancholy of old age. Calvin will never be recognized for his greatest accomplishments. Not that he wants to be seen as a hero; he still feels remorse for killing Hitler. According to Calvin, Hitler was not history’s greatest monster – just a sad, angry man.
“Robert Krzykowski has gifted us a one-of-a-kind experience that is both exhilarating and bittersweet.”
Director/writer Robert Krzykowski has gifted us a one-of-a-kind experience that is both exhilarating and bittersweet. Sam Elliott is enough reason to see the film. He will warm your heart and bring you to the edge of tears. It’s also worth mentioning the stand-out performance of Aidan Turner as a young Calvin, optimistic and hopelessly in love, unaware of how life will eventually crush him into the lonely man he’s destined to become. At first glance, you wouldn’t think that Turner looks at all like Sam Elliott, until he grows a moustache, then the resemblance is uncanny. As for the Bigfoot, I found the bug-eyed costume design an off-putting juxtaposition to an otherwise heartfelt film.
One particular scene that made an impression on me is when Calvin, as a young soldier, meets with a Russian officer (Nikolai Tsankov) who aids him in infiltrating the Nazi ranks. In order to look the part, the Russian must shave Calvin’s beard using a straight razor. As he glides the razor across Calvin’s skin, the Russian goes into a monologue about whether or not it will draw blood, which will indicate the success of the mission. The whole act had me wondering if the officer was a friend or foe, who at any moment could slit Calvin’s throat. It was the most unnerving shaving scene I have ever seen.
The one piece of advice I can give you, dear reader, is that you watch The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot with no expectations. Do not expect it to be action-packed with a high body count, because you will be disappointed. Do not expect it to be a deep dive into cryptozoology or Nazi exploitation, because you will be left unsatisfied. Rather, this is a movie to watch with your dad, followed by a long conversation of what it’s like to grow old.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and The the Bigfoot had its World Premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival. It’s next screening will be at this year’s Frightfest in London, UK.
Check out more of Nightmare on Film Street’s Fantasia Fest Coverage here, and be sure to sound off with your thoughts over on Twitter and in our Facebook Group!