Plot: Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) served his country as a soldier, but now in his golden years, he lives in isolation and is plagued by regret. As a master tracker with incredible patient and attention to detail, Calvin was tasked to eliminate Hitler and did so, with an almost otherworldly level of precision. But since then, he is racked with anguish over the assassination and despite Hitler’s inarguable evil, Calvin is haunted by killing, regardless of who was taken out. In the wake of his actions, he withdrew from most social efforts and lost touch with his one time love interest, even finding himself distanced from his beloved brother. His solitude is broken however, when government officials from both Canada and the United States track him down with a request, to once again suit up and take down a crucial threat.
Entertainment Value: I love the premise of this one, a grizzled soldier who has fallen into nearly total isolation over his lethal actions, called back into service to battle a mystical threat. I mean, clearly the only man suitable to hunt Bigfoot would be the same dude who killed Hitler, so this makes sense. The title sounds like a drive-in style b movie, but the actual movie has a grounded, character driven approach, though it does indeed involve a showdown with Bigfoot. I think the movie works quite well, but if you come in looking for outlandish, b movie style schlock, you’ll need to adjust those expectations at least until close to the finale. That’s not to say the film doesn’t have a sense of humor at times, but it has more grit and even emotion than you might anticipate, based on the title alone. I was hooked right from the jump and despite a deliberate pace, the movie never lost steam or felt overly slow. I do like how time is invested to tell Calvin’s story beyond the big moments of his life, as it lets us connect with him and see him as more than just a hired gun. The tone is a little inconsistent perhaps, but the overall ride is a well crafted, fun experience on all fronts. So if you the premise or cast interests you, don’t miss The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.
The main reason this movie has such a grounded texture is the cast, especially the strong, sincere lead performance from Sam Elliott. His work in A Star is Born around this time got all the attention, but I think this is some of his finest work, as he brings such presence and weight to the character. This might sound odd in a picture where he hunts down the Bigfoot, but Elliott brings the heat and whether it calls for drama, emotion, or light humor, he delivers and then some. Some of the other performances lean a little more into campiness, even if only slightly, so Elliott’s more serious presence anchors the movie perfectly. His role is a small one here, but I think Larry Miller adds a lot to the movie in his scenes. The dynamic between Miller and Elliott is fantastic, one that works even when the two just share the screen without words, though it comes to life when they exchange some banter. The cast also includes Aidan Turner, Ron Livingston, Caitlin Fitzgerald, and Sean Bridgers.
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Surprisingly downbeat and sad, which doesn’t seem to totally work. Nice review.