Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Overlooked Movies: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (2018)

I suspect this is one of those love-it-or-hate-it movies. I love it. THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT has such a goofy title that you really don’t know what to expect, and it asks the viewer to accept a lot of odd things that are played with an absolutely straight face, but for me, it works.

The story moves back and forth between the 1940s and the middle 70s. Calvin Barr is a young man from a small town who goes off to war, becomes an intelligence agent, and winds up assassinating Adolf Hitler a few months before the end of the war. (The “Hitler” who died in the bunker in Berlin was one of the doubles, of course.) It’s hinted that Barr carried out other dangerous and important missions after the war, but we never get any details about those. But by the mid-70s, he’s just an old man, back in that small town living in the same house he grew up in, leading a quiet existence with his only friends being his dog, his younger brother (who’s the local barber), and the bartender at the little bar where he drinks. He’s still a dangerous guy, though, as three punks who try to mug him find out to their regret.

Then agents from the U.S. and Canadian governments show up and try to recruit him for one last mission: hunt down and kill the Bigfoot, who’s come down with some sort of nightmare virus that could wipe out the entire population of Earth.

Yes, it’s a crazy concept, but writer/director/producer Robert J. Kryzkowski makes something unexpected and very satisfying out of it. This is his first feature, but I’ll sure be interested to see what he comes up with in the future. Instead of the cheesy B-movie you might expect from the title, for the most part this film is a leisurely paced character study, and another reason it’s successful is a great performance from Sam Elliott, one of my all-time favorite actors, as the older Calvin Barr. The younger, World War II version of Calvin is played in flashbacks by Aidan Turner, and he does a fine job, too, although he doesn’t carry the movie the way Elliott does. Character actor and comedian Larry Miller, who I also like, plays Calvin Barr’s younger brother.

I’m not sure any of this would have worked without a good ending, and THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT delivers that, too. It’s poignant and old-fashioned and very effective. Not every question the movie raises is answered, but they don’t have to be in order to bring the viewer closure. I understand if some of you watch this and fall into the hate-it camp, but I think it’s the best movie I’ve seen in quite a while.


Jeff Meyerson said...

With the title alone - not to mention Sam Elliott! - you know Bill Crider would have been all over this one.

Jerry House said...

I liked this one a lot.

James Reasoner said...

I think Bill would have loved it.

Rick Robinson said...

Since when did Bigfoor become THE Bigfoot?