‘The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot’ is a film directed by Robert D. Krzykowski’s in his feature debut. It may not be a masterpiece, but you definitely cannot call it a failure. The title of the film leads you to expect something like a surreal mashup of historical and fiction motives in the film, and these speculations come true. Somewhat unexpectedly perfectly matched but seemingly different genres make this film an exceptional production in today’s film industry.
This mystical drama tells the story of an American war veteran, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliot). The plot is set in 1987. Calvin is living his last days in his hometown with his dog. He is constantly tortured by the memories of World War II, during which he was entrusted with a special task that remained undisclosed to the public.
Barr spends his days immersed in a routine, visiting the bar and his younger brother’s barbershop. One evening he is attacked by a gang of youngsters demanding his wallet and car keys. Initially surrendering to the thugs, after a few moments, Calvin knocks down the entire gang with a couple of blows. Later on, a couple of mysterious men knocked on his doors, identifying themselves as joint American and Canadian government agents. They both explain that almost all life on Earth may be coming to an end and Barr is probably the only one who can help.
Throughout the story, the motives of the present and the past intertwine – Calvin is tortured by the memories of the task entrusted to him and is overwhelmed by guilt, although he has probably saved millions of innocent lives. He is also suffering by remembering his beloved, Maxine. The plotline seems to be jumping but the attentive viewer manages to put all together to get a general view, which is extremely affected by the memories of the past.
It’s also important to add that the special effects made for this film, although they are kind of minimalist, were created by Douglas Trumbull, who was nominated for an Oscar three times in his career and contributed to film masterpieces such as ‘Running Razor Blade’ and ‘Star Trek’. Even there were not so many special effects in this film, but the elements of horror embedded just in time and in the right place.
Sam Elliot stars as the main character of the hero, whose iconic mustache, as if they mask his never-smiling lips, arguably deserves its own credit. An elderly man who is drowning in memories and doesn’t talk much, lives with his dog and has close relationships only with his younger brother, Ed (Larry Miller). He does understand that his brother is a complex personality, so he is happy about the connection that binds them together.
The young Calvin, who dominates the memories, is played by Aidan Turner, who might not look very similar to a grizzled, present-day looking Calvin, still does a great job of portraying the young protagonist. His sweetheart, Maxine, played by Caitlin FitzGerald, performed flawlessly, but in the almost completely masculine ensemble of the entire film, seemed to still have a lot of unrevealed potential.
The film definitely stands out from the wide variety of films that appear in cinemas every year. The unexpectedly chosen decision to interweave the motifs of fiction and history is quite successful, so the film could not be compared to any other because of its rather peculiar title, which tells the viewer in advance the whole story, and the minimalist plot, but also the use of accents that are incompatible at first sight. This film could be a great discovery for those looking for something new and unseen.