It has never been better to be Sam Elliott than it is now. 2017 brought a wonderful vehicle for the man in The Hero, giving him a lovely showcase. Kudos to filmmaker Brett Haley for doing that, after giving him a plum supporting role in I’ll See You In My Dreams. Obviously, 2018 saw him bring audiences to tears in A Star Is Born, garnering his first ever Academy Award nomination in the process. Now, as the Oscars approach, he starts off 2019 right with a starring role in a project with an amazing title. After all, who wouldn’t want to see something called The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot? Exactly. Opening this Friday, it’s the best release of the year so far.
The film is a character study, though one tinged with some interesting action/suspense beats. At first glance, Calvin Barr (Elliott) just appears to be a retired old man. He putters around with his dog, keeps to himself, and appears to be waiting out his death. In flashbacks, we see that Barr (played by Aiden Turner) was an extraordinary young man. In the midst of wooing Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald), he’s drafted into World War II. An ideal soldier, he ends up on a secret mission to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He succeeds, though the mission is covered up. In the present day, he feels guilt over taking a life, even if Hitler out and out deserved it. Then, the government comes to his door once again, this time needing him for something very different. Bigfoot is not only real, but sick with a virus that could wipe out humanity. They need him to serve his country one more time. Barr resists, but ultimately, duty calls. Robert D. Krzykowski writes and directs, with Joe Kraemer proving the score and Alex Vendler handling the cinematography. Supporting turns here include the likes of Ellar Coltrane, Ron Livingston, and Larry Miller.
This is a really tremendous movie. From the bold concept to Elliott’s performance, it’s just a deliciously full cinematic meal. There are three distinct aspects to the film, all of which find an interesting harmony with one another. There’s the war sequences, where Turner’s younger Barr flawlessly executes his mission. There’s the character study moments, where Elliott’s older Barr hangs out with his dog, reflects on his life, quietly breaks your heart. Finally, we see him literally duking it out with Bigfoot. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Oh, how it does. It’s hard not to fall in love with it, particularly when Elliott is on the screen.
Elliott has always been an underrated star. The last handful of years have just finally clued people in about his skills. From his scene stealing turn in Grandma, to another top notch supporting turn in I’ll See You In My Dreams, he then upped his game even more with The Hero and A Star Is Born. Those are some of his best performances to date, without question, and The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot can proudly stand alongside them. Now that he’s an Academy Award nominee at last, the countdown can begin to the time where Elliott is finally rewarded with an Oscar (unless, of course, he pulls the upset this time around).
This week, those of you who appreciate Elliott like I do are in for a treat when The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot opens. It’s the best film of 2019 so far, and legitimately a great movie. The title doesn’t quite give you the right picture of what this is about, but it does offer up what it promises. Watching Elliott do his thing is an absolute pleasure. He puts forth another performance that’s in a class all by itself. Elliott fans must see this. Give it a look and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Trust me here, it’s a special one…
Be sure to check out The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot, in theaters this weekend!