No film could ever live up to the pulp-y promise of a title like The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot. So wisely writer director Robert D. Krzykowski doesn’t even try. Instead, The Man Who… is a strangely melancholic piece anchored by a strong Sam Elliott performance as a man haunted as much by regret as Nazis and Yetis.
Elliott plays laconic loner Calvin Barr, a man living a quiet life in Smalltown USA with just a golden retriever for company. The movie starts at a strong lick with a younger Barr (Aidan Turner, who is no-one’s idea of a young Sam Elliott) as a lethal highly trained operative, replete with a machine gun assembled from a pen and canteen, on his way to assassinate the Führer. Krzykowski toggles through time periods with fancy-dan transitions so the hit on Hitler is intercut with older Burr’s quiet existence and his memories of failing to propose to his love (Caitlin FitzGerald) before being shipped off to war.
It doesn't all come together.
Later, the older Burr’s humdrum life is interrupted by Ron Livingston and Rizwan Manji, as an FBI wonk and Canadian Mounted policeman respectively, who recruit him to take down Bigfoot, who they believe is responsible for a series of unexplained deaths. When he finally catches up with the abominable snowman, the creature, by FX house Spectral Motion, is like an under-nourished Wampa, more ghoulish and scary than a lumbering beast.
It’s a film that tries to juggle a one-man-war movie, gory horror flick, lost love drama and an-old-man-on-a-porch flick and it doesn’t all come together — the Hitler set-piece feels bizarrely thrown away. But Sam Elliott gives the hokum an engaging centre as a legendary soldier whose real demons — despite the schlocky title — are all internal.