Take, for instance, the line, “I don’t want to kill anymore, be it beast or man,” referring to an offer by the government to execute the Bigfoot, who is carrying a disease that has already wiped out an entire population of Canadian wildlife. Even with that line and the context surrounding it, Sam Elliott sells it as Calvin. You believe him. You believe that he secretly killed Hitler and you believe that he will—after some nudging—kill the Bigfoot. As far as certainties go, it’s right up there with death and taxes.
Calvin agrees to hunt down the Bigfoot, he’s escorted in one of those rooms that has an entire wall lined with weaponry—everything from knives to machine guns. He takes one look and says, “That gun. That scope. That knife. That’s it.” And you believe that, too.
“…the movie’s primary selling point and not-so-secret weapon: Sam Elliott.”
Aside from the legitimacy that Elliott lends to the movie, there’s also something inarguably amusing in watching him play his part so straight. When first informed of the Bigfoot’s existence, there’s no smirk or wry squint, but concern. When recounting his assassination of Hitler, he doesn’t get worked up or indulge in every detail. He tells it like it is as if it was any other war story that he’d rather keep to himself.
Krzykowski deserves some credit for this restraint, as I assume it was written into the script, given the type of character Calvin is. A lesser man might announce that he was the one who killed Hitler, then ride his fame to a book deal and the illustrious field of cable news punditry. But not Calvin. He’s the kind of guy who finds a winning lottery ticket and returns it to the gas station where it was bought, just in case the owner comes looking for it.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot isn’t the loony chuckle-fest that many might want and it’s not as affecting a character piece as Krzykowski might want, but it’s a crackpot showcase for a performer who deserves one or two, crackpot or otherwise.
"…isn’t the loony chuckle-fest that many might want..."