What can a person say upon hearing the title of this film. The name alone conjures up all sorts of kitschy concepts and ideas. One might jump to the conclusion that it shares some DNA with other campy movies such as Hobo with a shotgun, or perhaps Rubber. While the title may be tongue in cheek the film itself is not. This film deals with such weighty topics as guilt, remorse, lost love, and morality. The man who killed Hitler and then The Big Foot even goes so far as to take on the “toxic masculinity” topic to some regard.
Written and Directed by Robert D. Krzykowski, and released in 2019. The man who killed Hitler and then The Big Foot on the surface is exactly what the title claims. However on deeper inspection we can see there is much more going on. The lead character Calvin Barr is portrayed by veteran actor Sam Elliott and Irish actor Aidan Turner. The film is set in two time periods. The 1980’s and 1940’s eras. Through a series of flash back sequences we see Turner portraying the young Barr performing his duty to his country during World War 2. The assassination plot scenes are short and to the point. In the hands of a different director these sequences may have been over emphasized or filmed like a Dirty Dozen type film. Here Krzykowski shines by not creating a overblown mission epic or using some kind of tired training montage. Instead the focus is on the man Barr himself. Sam Elliott whom we know from some of his more salty portrayals in films such as Roadhouse, Gettysburg, and countless westerns shows Barr to be a man wrestling with many personal demons. Elliott shows off expert acting chops playing Barr as a weary man weighed down by the choices he made and feels the pain and guilt of the road not taken. In many other films Elliott embodies the epitome of the “man’s man” never backing down from a fight as well as showcasing a gritty toughness. However Elliott chooses a different path for this character. His portrayal of Barr shows a toughness of another kind, that of having the strength to weep and to allow for grieving for all his past and present pain.
Caitlin FitzGerald plays Barr’s lost love Maxine. FitzGerald’s performance is a refreshing break from female period characters we have seen in the past. Maxine is a strong willful woman with no need to be swept off her feet or dominated by a male influence. Maxine is a woman deeply in love, but knows what she wants and leads the relationship with strength and tenderness.
Rounding out the cast are Ronald Livingston, Rizwan Manji, and Larry Miller who plays Calvin Barr’s younger brother Ed. Calvin and Ed share an estranged family relationship. Both brothers share a quiet admiration for the lives each have chosen. Ed looks up to his older brother in awe of his achievements during the war. Calvin longs to have the normal small town family life that his brother Ed enjoys. Both actors create memorable moments here with their honest portrayal of brothers aging and reflecting over their lives.
Last but certainly not least we arrive at The Bigfoot. Visual effects legend Douglas Trumbull uses his vast experience to create subtle and winning effects throughout the film. Viewers who may not know the name will know him from such films as Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek the Motion Picture, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind to name a few. This Bigfoot is the last of it’s kind and has grown diseased with a virus that threatens to kill every living creature on the planet. At this point Barr is recruited by a nameless government agency to track down and kill the creature. Calvin is reluctant to take the mission due to a vow to never kill anything again. Wresting with his moral convictions Barr must once again “do what he is told” and dispatch this monster. Director Robert D. Krzykowski wrote the film about a man who must serve the world killing two different types of “monster” one with a horrific ideology and the other with a terrifying plague.
Add the beautifully written score by composer Joe Kraemer whose work includes The Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and you have all the elements that make for a great independent film. We would do well to keep an eye out for future projects by Krzykowski. Also check out his short film Elsie Hooper. If your tired of the same old Hollywood stories being churned out lately then do yourself a favor and rent this beautiful gem of a film.
Contributing Writer at Custom Made Music Magazine