Sam Elliott continues his legacy as a legend in his role of the titular character in this drama-driven film whose title could pass for a grindhouse film, but shows it is not.
In World War II, Calvin Barr, an American soldier, did the one thing that no one else could do. During an undercover mission, he has ended the war by killing off Adolf Hitler. However, the effects of the war has made him lose virtually everything. Calvin spends his nights at the local bar and in the day, he is at home in a solitary manner with his dog. The only family he has left is local barber Ed, his younger brother.
One fateful night, Calvin gets a visit from FBI Flag Pin. Flag has inquired Calvin about a series of killings in the Canadian wilderness. The perpetrator is a Bigfoot, who is believed to be carrying a plague that is threatening of humanity. At first, Calvin refuses to take the assignment. However, after talking with Ed, who gives his support, Calvin decides to take on the mission. After all, he’s got practically nothing left to lose.
The feature film directorial debut of Robert D. Krzykowski brings something very interesting to mind. First, the title is nothing but superb. The film sounds like it could pass for a grindhouse film, a subgenre of low-budget film that has been having a resurgence of late. However, Krzykowski does the opposite of what the title may be intended to be. Yes, the title does fit the lead character, but instead of going the grindhouse route, Krzykowski instead brings out a drama that for the first half focuses on a juxtaposition solely on our hero’s times before and during World War II and his present day while the latter focuses on his new mission at hand with beats of the past meshed in.
The biggest plus of the film is that there couldn’t be any more perfect casting in the titular role. Sam Elliott defines legend so who better to play a legend than Elliott himself. From the minute you see his close-up on screen, you will know what to expect from him. As Calvin, Elliott churns out a wonderful performance as a solitary man who only relies on his dog and relishes alone in his past. He is somewhat proud of what he has accomplished but it has come at a price at being alone with the exception of his brother, wonderfully played in a more straight laced manner by comic actor Larry Miller.
Aside from Miller, the supporting cast is quite exceptional. Aidan Turner does a great job with his role of the young Calvin, seen in the juxtaposed flashbacks that revolve around his romance with Maxine, played by Caitlin FitzGerald, and the events leading up to the first half of the title. Ron Livingston, perhaps best known for his lead role in the cult classic Office Space, plays it straight as well in the role of FBI agent Flag Pin, who is cooperating with Canadian authorities and enlisting Calvin for what will be the second half of the title, which takes up much of the second half of the film.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot is a wonderful directorial debut for Robert D. Krzykowski thanks in part to an interesting use of flashbacks and modern day, with stellar performances by Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, and against type roles for Larry Miller and Ron Livingston. Definitely an indie film worth checking out.
WFG RATING: A
RLJE Films presents an Epic Pictures presentation, in association with Title Media and Makeshift Pictures. Director: Robert D. Krzykowski. Producers: Robert D. Krzykowski, Patrick Ewald, Shaked Berenson, and Lucky McKee. Writer: Robert D. Krzykowski. Cinematography: Alex Vendler. Editing: Zach Passero.
Cast: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Rizwan Manji, Larry Miller, Ron Livingston, Ellar Coltrane, Nikolai Tsankov, Joe Lucas, Mark Steger.