Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Caitlin FitzGerald, Ron Livingston, Larry Miller, Rizwan Manji
Writer: Robert D. Krzykowski
Director: Robert D. Krzykowski
Distributor: RLJ Entertainment
Release Date (theatrical and on demand): February 8, 2019
It may seem hard to spoil THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, seeing that two big plot points are in the title. However, while those events have weight and give the movie their shape, writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski is much more interested in the effect these have on the title character, Calvin Barr. Calvin is played in the film’s “present” (apparently the ‘70s, which here look like the ‘50s) by Sam Elliott, and in the WWII past by Aidan Turner. It’s impossible to think of anybody who would be better for the older Calvin than Elliott, who conveys a lifetime of experience even when he’s sitting in contemplative silence. Turner (who is actually Irish, and plays the title character in TV’s POLDARK) is not someone who comes to mind when imagining someone who’d be like Elliott when he’s older, but he does a first-rate American accent here and gives the younger Calvin the same bedrock decency.
MAN freely moves back and forth in time. We meet Calvin in his older incarnation, resigned if not exactly happy living a quiet life with his dog and going to the same low-key bar every night. He occasionally sees his younger brother Ed (Larry Miller), who wants to connect with Calvin, even though the two don’t fully understand each other.
In World War II, Calvin is a duty-bound spy on a mission, who comports himself perfectly at all times, even during some odd interactions with European locals. Before the war, Calvin falls in love with schoolteacher Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald), the one person who seems capable of breaking his innate reserve.
Calvin absolutely doesn’t want to be seen as a hero, nor does he want anyone to get the wrong idea about his wartime experiences, which are top-secret in any case. So when military men (Ron Livingston, Rizwan Manji) from the U.S. and Canada, respectively, turn to him with a crisis only Calvin can solve, he’s reluctant to return to the use of violence.
In some ways, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is a classic gunslinger tale, updated for the modern era. Calvin Barr certainly has as much integrity as anyone who ever wore a white hat, though he lacks the certainty of his own righteousness. We buy his rectitude because Elliott is the actor doing the selling. The performance is subtle and seamless and keeps us engrossed throughout. When Turner is in the role, he gives us the feeling that Calvin is still pondering the workings of the world.
There are bursts of activity, but filmmaker Krzykowski is much more interested in the gentler moments. He fills his tall tale with visual beauty and a sense of whimsy that is fairly deadpan. Nothing is pushed too hard, yet everything flows at an acceptable pace, thoughtful but never dragging.
If you want to watch Elliott at his finest (and who doesn’t), or even just a work legitimately titled THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, this is clearly a must-see.
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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Movie Review: THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN BIGFOOT