Synopsis: Decades after ending World War II by assassinating Adolf Hitler in an undercover operation, unsung American hero Calvin Barr is called upon by the government to hunt down the fabled Bigfoot, the carrier of a deadly plague that could destroy humanity.
Review: If I was asked to describe this film at a pitch meeting. I’d probably struggle to sum it up in a pitch such as, ‘It’s like Rocketeer meets Inglourious Basterds.’ Simply put this film is such an odd mixture of genres that it would be hard to pin it down or compare it to any other movies or television shows. Which is both a blessing and a curse for the film.
A debut movie for writer and director Robert D. Krzykowski. The movie has an impressive team behind it with people like celebrated indie filmmaker John Sayles (Eight Men Out, Lone Star) as a producer and iconic VFX artist Douglas Trumbull (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner).
You also have two very capable and respected actors involved with the quietly grizzled Sam Elliott (Road House, The Ranch, and A Star Is Born) as the older version of Calvin Barr. While Aidan Turner (Being Human (UK), The Hobbit Trilogy, and Poldark) takes on the role of the younger Calvin Barr.
So right off the bat. The film has a lot going for it.
In a nutshell, the story is rather simplistic in that it centres on Calvin Barr a quiet reflective older man who is looking back over his life and questioning the morality of having killed Hitler in his younger days. We see the build-up to the Hitler assassination via flashbacks. But a majority of the film is firmly in the present day with Calvin brooding over his life and quietly reflecting on his younger days.
As we see Calvin go about his day the film eventually has him meet two Government Agent types who know about his past and ask him to kill The Bigfoot, which apparently carries a deadly plague that could wipe out most of humanity. Calvin is one of only a few people who is immune to the virus and the only person equipped even in his advanced years with the tracking skills needed.
Calvin is reluctant to kill again. Having killed Hitler still leaves a horrible taste in his mouth given that the death of the Fascist Dictator didn’t do anything to kill the movement, but he reluctantly agrees to take out the Bigfoot.
Sam Elliot is perfectly cast as the older Calvin Barr and pretty much carries this movie’s narrative throughout. The scene where he talks with the two agents is the high point of Elliot’s acting performance in the film as he agonizes over eventually having to kill again for what is the greater good.
Aiden Turner is a great choice of actor for the younger version of Calvin, but I felt he was underused in the flashback scenes and didn’t really get too many opportunities to show us what he could do. The flashback scenes he was in were done more in a reflective way, which kind of robbed them of the potential to be truly pulp in an action and adventure sort of way.
‘The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot’ is a pretty good effort and has a solid story to tell. But I found the pacing of it to be a bit of a slog. And it was only really Sam Elliot’s performance that kept me engaged with the film.
Structurally. I’m not too sure if doing the Hitler Assassination plot in the flashback was the right call. I think as a viewer I’d have rather have seen the Flashback as one big narrative as the main character looks back as opposed to it being in fragments throughout the film. I think telling the story as a whole using the Flashbacks in a fragmented way is ultimately what slowed the pacing of this film down and maybe undermined Turner’s performance a little.
The climax of the film where we see Bigfoot comes off as somewhat anti-climatic and disappointing. Especially given the pedigree of work that Douglas Trumbull brings with him. I was hoping for something a little more impressive.
Overall. This movie has good and bad points. The idea has so much potential, but I can’t help but feel that it screwed the pooch and missed the mark. Especially with the Flashback sequences. It’s not a bad movie, but it isn’t one that I can see myself repeatedly going back too.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Big Foot will arrive on Blu-ray along with the DVD release on 6 May 2019, following the digital release on 15 April 2019.
- Visual Effects8.0
- Incidental Music8.5