Last night the Montreal Fantasia film festival gave us the world premiere of The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. Writer / director Robert Krzykowski and actor Sam Elliott were in attendance. Spotted in the crowd was Fantasia film judge and actor Tim Matheson. No one has to wonder about the plot of a movie when it’s called The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. It is quite self explanatory. The spoilers are in the title. The only thing one might wonder is, the type of genre this film could be. Is it a comedy, action, horror, drama, thriller, or even a mystery? The answer is all of the above including two love stories. One is between a man and a woman and the other about brotherly love. Not just between two brothers, which is certainly there, but more a universal brotherly love for everyone.
This is a very impressive film from first time writer / director Robert Krzykowski who has crafted together a 98 minute runtime that feels more like two plus hours long and that’s not a bad thing at all. Being able to blend everything from a love story to a man versus beast, dog chase, fight sequence is absolutely brilliant. According to Krzykowski this film took 12 years to write, finance, put together and finally film. It’s a true labour of love that has paid off into something uniquely great.
Sam Elliott plays Calvin Barr an American war hero enjoying a somewhat peaceful uneventful life of drinking at a local bar, walking his dog, eating pitiful TV dinners, and getting a haircut from his brother who wants them to go fishing together. One of the biggest events in Calvin’s life is finding a winning lottery ticket to which he doesn’t even want to claim the prize.
All of those sombre slow paced scenes are interjected by flashbacks to World War II where young Calvin is played with cool by Aidan Turner. He is on a top secret mission infiltrating Nazi Germany. We see everything from his putting on a Nazi uniform, to being shaved by the Russians who are helping him. Finally there is the piecing together a la James Bond style of a makeshift gun, to literally as the movie title tells us, kill Hitler.
The biggest thing to happen in older Calvin’s life is when he is almost mugged by three men at night. Little did Calvin know he was being watched by the dead pan US CIA agent played by Ron Livingston and more lively RCMP played by Rizwan Manji. One of the film’s best moments is the scene where they sit in Calvin’s kitchen to recruit him to hunt and kill Bigfoot. It’s intriguing, tense and hilarious all at the same time.
Calvin Barr has a such a manly Chuck Norris aura about him that he only needs a gun and a knife to hunt and take down Bigfoot. In the wild are several great sequences of the hunter becoming the hunted. There is a brutal, and at times gross, hands on battle that ensues between man and beast, who apparently doesn’t really have big feet. Amongst all the action there is even time for a tender moment with a beautiful mountainous background.
Meanwhile there are still flashback scenes with young Calvin falling in love and wanting to marry the local school teacher, Maxine innocently played by Caitlin Fitzgerald. The only strike in this whole film is the overly long night stroll scene between Calvin and Maxine. Just as loving and touching are the scenes between older Calvin and his brother whom they both wish had a better relationship.
If this were not enough there’s two little mysteries in the film. One is, what is in the wooden box under Calvin’s bed he never wants to open? Secondly, what is it in Calvin’s shoe that is so irritating?
Make sure you get out to see this film that has more than enough to offer anyone. Not only that but seeing the deep voiced, ultra slick, laid back, Sam Elliott pursue after two such diverse historical figures one real and one we always wonder if it’s real is just pure movie magic.
Following the film was a Q & A session with actor Sam Elliott and writer / director Robert Krzykowski. Sam Elliott said he loved the script when it was sent to him and found lots of similarities between himself and the lead character which is why he chose to do the film. Take close notice of Elliott’s Lady Gaga t-shirt which he is obviously wearing in early support of the upcoming A Star is Born remake that he will be in. I got to ask Sam a question about the physicality of being in this film.