Directed by: Robert D. Krzykowski. Starring: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Ron Livingston. Runtime: 1h 38 min. Released: February 8, 2019.
(This review has spoilers.)
With a title like The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot, there should be no world where I don’t like this. Unfortunately, this is that world because it plays out so seriously. We get an aging war veteran, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) who reflects on his past as Young Calvin (Aidan Turner) kills Hitler (this scene is tense but the leadup is long) and romances his sweetheart Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald).
Sure, these scenes are sweet, but I wanted to watch an aging war veteran kick ass and just kill Bigfoot, and instead it’s such a dull film. There are so many flashback scenes and they drag when you want action. There is some well-choreographed action, like Calvin fighting off car thieves, but the film feels uneventful.
40 minutes in, the film was still only foreshadowing that, at some point, he will indeed hunt Bigfoot. Just when Calvin was about to fall asleep and I was dreading another flashback, Ron Livingston shows up as an FBI agent to tell him about Bigfoot. Truly, I’ve never been so relieved to see Ron Livingston in a movie.
He tells Calvin that Bigfoot’s deep in the Canadian wilderness and is the carrier of the Nightmare Plague, and Calvin needs to stop him before Bigfoot leaves containment, otherwise the world will end. Calvin’s immune and he’s their only hope – and the only other option is bombing Western Canada. Calvin is the right call.
Elliott plays Calvin well, about as perfectly as writer/director Robert D. Kryzkowski could have asked for. The cinematography (by Alex Vandler) is strong, and there are some beautiful shots. However, the film is boring, surprising because it should be a film planted in the fantasy of killing Hitler, and then many years later, killing Bigfoot. The pacing just fails because the hunt itself is so brief. Bigfoot looks gnarly and the fight is gruesome, but Bigfoot doesn’t live up to his name.
This is just a movie about a war veteran who has lived a mundane life with two highlight reel moments (Hitler, Bigfoot) but gets zero credit for it. It’s an intriguing direction Kryzkowski takes this in, as a competent reflection on one’s accomplishments and love life, but I wish it was more about the hunt. I frankly don’t think anyone wants a love story when it could be Sam Elliott hunting a yeti the entire time.
I try not to judge a film on what I wanted from it, but it’s impossible with this one as my lack of enjoyment is because I expected something different. If you go in expecting a slow, depressing drama about an aging war veteran reflecting on his boring life, with some action, it’s still mediocre. If you’re expecting a campy, tongue-in-cheek kind-of actioner, The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot refuses to cash that cheque.