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The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2018)  

Review: written May 2019

Hodge podge of ideas ranging from engaging to ridiculous, fails to gel together

The man who killed hitler and then bigfoot

It’s a doozy of a title, but the movie itself fails to life up to expectations.

Sam Elliot brings a sense of supreme weariness at life, unlike any other actor can. His character stumbles and mumbles along with his trademark amiable charm, but hiding some secret from his past which has haunted him (hint – it’s in the title..). The first half has flashbacks to this event (the most fun part of the movie), and the second half moves on to the request from the government to go after Bigfoot on behalf of the nation.

Editing between time periods and stories can be a clunky exercise in movies, but this one manages it with panache, reminding me of some of the segues between time periods in ‘Once Upon A Time In America’. Alas, if only the rest of the movie were so engaging. There are some great vignettes here, and they all happen in the flashbacks to WW2. These colourfully rendered, almost cartoonishly directed scenes, have a sense of fun and wit missing from the rest of the movie. One scene in particular stands out, with our hero seeking to penetrate the Third Reich aided by the Russian resistance. His ‘close shave’ with the resistance leader in a bizarre but engaging scene hints at what the movie could have been. But just as the movie starts to win you over, we’re back to modern day and a mish mash of unresolved plot stories – the girl he left behind to go to war, the mysterious box hinting at more secrets from his past, the niggling stone in his shoe – all hinting at a meaningful story to be told, which we are ultimately left to fill in ourselves. Instead we get a B-movie finale as the old age pensioner climbs mountains and braves the plague to reluctantly kill Bigfoot – and yes, getting colourfully puked on, in the process.

The man who killed hitler and then bigfoot

The man who killed hitler and then bigfoot

There are two different glues that might have held these disparate stories together.. one would have been a sense of embracing the ridiculousness of the concept, in the way Quentin Tarantino might have done. Another would have been to make things earnest and build a sense of character and mythology. Unfortunately, the director chooses to mix every possible idea together. What we’re left with is a dollop of a perfectly world weary and haunted performance from Sam Elliott, a soupcon of wildly ridiculous scenes, an occasional breakout moment that glimpses at something greater, and an overdose of self indulgent grandiosity. The stories never seem truly related, and there is no thread of meaning to hang on to with the jumps in tone becoming increasingly jarring.

Ultimately what you get is just what the title says, with a lot of filler. Disappointing.

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