Let’s just start with a simple list. Things Sam Elliott does in this movie include, but are not limited to:
- Kill Hitler with a really cool gun
- Hunt the Bigfoot to stop its reign of terror
- Befriend an owl
- Cry several times, big heartfelt man tears
- Get a haircut at the barber
- Make hot chocolate with marshallows
- Show us why we shouldn’t piss him off
For me, this is reason enough to consider this a worthwhile watch for any and all cinephiles and genre fans. However, this film is definitely more than just Sam Elliott being Sam Elliott – even if that’s really all it needs to be. The story is interesting, the cinematography is fantastic, and the creature effects are fun. In other words, this is a pretty fantastic B movie and is sure to be talked about for years to come.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks to the secret story of how Hitler really died. As the title suggests, the long fabled Hitler suicide is merely a cover up story for a tale of espionage and state sanctioned murder. We meet the man who killed Hitler, we learn his story, and we see what the mission meant to him. This man who once threw all caution to the wind in order to serve his country by killing Der Führer is haunted by his actions in present day. When people who know of his bravery and legend come knocking down his door to hunt down a deadly creature, he’s quite reluctant. However, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to serve his country and the people who call it their home.
The lead character, Calvin Barr, is portrayed both by Sam Elliott and Aidan Turner (The Hobbit series). While Elliott portrays the man in present day, it is Turner who does some of the heavy lifting in portraying Barr in his youthful spy role. The two actors are asked to do the most in this film, but the other role players really perform their respective roles in a strong and convincing manner. Standouts among the cast include Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex), who make the most out of their screen time.
Additionally, one key actor in the mix is the faceless Mark Steger. Steger is the man who brings the creature in the film to life. Like his impressive body of work prior to this role, he shines once again. If you’re not familiar with Steger’s name, you are still likely familiar with some of his work; most notably, he has portrayed the Demogorgan in the first season of Stranger Things, Charles Barlow in both Pact films, the “infected” in I Am Legend. His ability to move and contort his body in ways where he fully embodies these very inhuman roles is always impressive. Thus, even with limited screen time in this film, it is Steger’s talent that brings the creature Sam Elliott’s Calvin Barr must face to life.
Fantasia has once again brought something interesting and powerful to the screen, as they do each year. It’s no surprise that films like this one choose the annual genre festival as the place to premiere. Credit goes to the programmers at the festival for taking a chance on a film like this and of course the cast and crew of this film for making something that’s sure to intrigue. First time filmmaker, Robert D. Krzykowski, should be proud of his debut feature and I hope having the support of Epic Pictures and festivals like this great one can bring us more from his creative mind in the coming years.