by Rob DiCristino
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who hear the title The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot and roll their eyes, and those who hear that same title and cancel their plans. It will surprise exactly none of you (those who have been following Redboxing for some time, at least) that I’m of the latter disposition. Read that title again: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. Savor it. There’s a boldness to it, an ironic awkwardness to the syntax that nods to the best in exploitation and black comedy. It evokes visions of over-the-top action and subpar visual effects. Funny mustaches. Speaking of which, seeing Sam Elliott’s name in the credits as the titular Man brings the picture into even clearer focus. Elliott is a symbol of rugged Americana, a gruff and avuncular figure of sage wisdom and no-bullshit swagger. Think carefully: Who else would you really trust to hunt down the world’s most notorious genocidal maniac AND North America’s most storied folk legend?
Anyway. Look carefully under the surface and you’ll find that The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (it’s so fun to type!) is really a story about the importance of deflating the bloated legends that serve only to distract us from our shared human experience. “I killed one man,” Barr tells the G-Men over coffee, “but it was other heroes who won the war.” A frustrated Barr would eventually learn that the real danger wasn’t the man called Adolf Hitler. It was the repulsive ideology that long outlived him, spreading like a — you guessed it — deadly illness and causing far more permanent damage than one person could ever hope to inflict. Barr’s was an act of ultimate sacrifice and supreme patriotic valor, but as Maxine died long before he was able to return home from the front, it did little except rob him of his future. It’s a heartbreaking moment made even more poignant when Barr apologizes to the wounded Bigfoot before putting one between his eyes: “I didn’t want it to be this way.”