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Film Review: The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot

3 June 19 words: Amber Hill-Cann

Robert D. Krzykowski's slightly surreal American drama delivers exactly what it says on the tin...

DirectorRobert D. Krzykowski

StarringSam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Caitlin Fitzgerald

Running time: 98 mins

The film follows Calvin Barr (Elliott), a little-known American WWII hero who nearly changed the course of history by killing Adolf Hitler; not a hard plot to guess given the film's descriptive title. However, his mission failed, the original Hitler merely being replaced by lookalikes throughout the war. Barr is painfully aware that although he killed the man, he could not kill the Nazi ideologies that had already grown larger than any individual. Most of the film is set during the 1980's, where a much older Barr is living alone with his dog haunted by his past exploits and missed opportunities; namely not proposing to the love of his life (Fitzgerald). He is called on by the American government, as the only man suitable for the job, to take out the legendary Bigfoot who is carrying a deadly disease that poses a threat to humanity as we know it.

The first half of the film had some beautifully placed flashbacks to young Barr during the war (Turner) which help to convey the danger and stake of his original mission to kill the fuhrer. They not only contain some brilliant visual comedy on the part of Alan Francis as a suspicious German Sturmfuhrer but they also highlight the cruelty of the time. Viewers are reminded of one of the reasons Barr was dispatched on his original mission with a poignant scene in which you see a group of Jewish prisoners rounded up into train carts by German soldiers. Some of the more touching aspects of the film are contained in the flashbacks to young Barr and his lost love, his inability to propose haunting him to this day. These make up some of the best and most memorable parts of the film and help to cement Elliott's portrayal of the retired soldier.

The magnificently moustachio'd Elliott's portrayal of the haunted Barr is beautiful

However, the film takes a strange turn with the introduction of the slightly unconvincing Bigfoot storyline, in which the American government inform Barr that he is the only person who is immune to the deadly virus carried by the legendary creature. This almost feels like sea change in genre and sits in sharp juxtaposition to the first half of the film. We are taken from Barr's kitchen to a lab on the edge of the 'deadzone' to deep in the Canadian wilderness in a few short scenes. When he encounters the bigfoot the creature is an emaciated shadow of what you would expect from a film portrayal of the big foot. After some exorcist-esque vomiting and an animalistic fight Barr inevitably kills the beast (no spoilers here, you only need to read the title).

The film really shines as an in-depth character study of main character Calvin Barr and the effects that the war had on his life.  The magnificently moustachio'd Elliott's portrayal of the haunted Barr is beautiful and is enhanced by the genius score by Joe Kraemer and stunning scenery. Overall, this is a good looking film with a great cast and touching if slightly surreal storyline. The ending of the film feels particularly poignant and is a touching turning point for such a brilliantly portrayed character.

Did you know? The scene in which the German SS Sturmführer asks young Calvin Barr (Aidan Turner) for his identification was improvised, in German, by actor Alan Francis on the day of filming.

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