Sitges Review: Krzykowski's 'The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then Bigfoot'
by Alex Billington
October 15, 2018
Not all heroes live a heroic life. Not all heroes get a big parade and go on talk shows and end up in history books. The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then The Bigfoot is one of most undefinable films of this year, no question. It's part drama, it's part action film, it's part horror, but at it's core it's really a character study about a lonely man at the end of his life looking back on everything. Sam Elliott plays Calvin Barr, indeed the very man who killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot. He spends his days drinking at a bar and relaxing with his adorable yellow lab dog, because no one knows that he killed Hitler. It was covered up by Germany and America, because there was more at stake. As he states in the film, he just killed a man that day, that's all. And he has had to spend his life dealing with the substantial feelings, as they slowly chip away at his psyche.
Written and directed by newcomer filmmaker Robert D. Krzykowski, The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then The Bigfoot is much more of a drama than it is a genre film, but it's also a genre film with some good drama. It's a smart mix of everything, yet also a deeply satisfying character study. It's a gorgeously cinematic tale about a singularly heroic man, who has some oddly unexplainable incredible strength and immunity, now struggling to figure out what his life means as it nears its end. One day, the FBI and the Canadian Mounted Police knock on his door, because they know he killed Hitler, and they know what he's capable of and they want him to kill the Bigfoot. So off he goes to save the world, again. We do get to see his Hitler mission as a flashback, and eventually his mission to find & kill the Bigfoot, which proves to be a much greater challenge.
Even though it may be hard to describe this film or categorize it, it's not hard to say it is a damn fine film. The cinematography is way better than it should be (for an indie feature like this and first-time director), thanks to DP Alex Vendler, complimented with some subtle VFX by the legendary Doug Trumbull. It's not a dark or gritty film, it's actually quite vibrant and graceful, reminding us that this kind of beautiful cinematography can still work well with a more downbeat story. The film reminded me a lot of Tim Burton's Big Fish - in style, and as a film about an old man telling tales about his life. Between A Star is Born and this, Sam Elliott is giving two more unforgettable performances in his already wonderful career, and it's a sight to behold. In this film, he's heartbreaking yet earnest, making the film that much better in the process.
At a brisk 98 minutes, this film is easily enjoyable and engaging to watch. It impressed me in so many ways, from the way it handles Elliott's performance to the gorgeous cinematography to the intelligent script, and although I still can't make much sense of it, I'm fond of it anyway. This film also has the most cuddle-able, adorable yellow lab who is his most bestest friend to Calvin all the way through. Made me love this film that much more because it's such a dog film, too. Really, truly, a film about how that dog can be your best friend and the most important person in your life - even if you did kill Hitler and then the Bigfoot. I'm happy this film exists, even though it doesn't fit in anywhere. I hope viewers will take a chance and discover it, finding something odd yet completely fulfilling. A tale unlike any other tale before, but a tale you won't soon forget.
Alex's Sitges 2018 Rating: 8 out of 10
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