Coming out today is “The Baker.” It was filmed in the Cayman Islands in 2021. You finally get to see their work. The plot is relatively simple. It stars Ron Perlman, the huge man you’ll never not see as “Hell Boy.” He also had a stint on “Sons of Anarchy” as Clay Marrow and he had a role as Curtis Sunday in a little-known film that I happen to love (and you should see) called “Local Color.”
This movie is a familiar story about a criminal who, in this case, has cleaned up his life and has become a baker. He owns a bakery he named Pappi’s Bake Shop. He seems to know what he’s doing, so why the store isn’t packed, who knows, but you can tell he prefers it that way. This is too FAMILIAR because the Baker tries to keep to himself but ends up having to be custodian to someone’s relative… or his own.
His son Peter, played by Joel David Moore of “Avatar” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” enters the story after he witnesses something at an airport parking lot of all places.
He thinks he was in the wrong place at the right time. Turns out that the right time doesn’t actually fit his circumstances. When he sees a drug deal go wrong, he steals a bag of drugs and hopes to reap the benefits. He wants to make a profit, but in order to do that, he needs to leave and speak to some dealers. So, he decides what he doesn’t need is his eight-year-old daughter Delphi (Emma Ho, who is terrific in this movie) getting in his way.
He goes rushing for his dad’s help to care for Delphi until he returns. Though the Baker doesn’t really know the child, nor does she know him, he agrees to take her in. Thank goodness because he’s loving and she hasn’t seen much of that in her life, if any. Her father tells her he’ll return before she and the Baker “can form a lasting bond.”
She doesn’t trust the comment. Her mother died when she was very young, and Delphi hasn’t spoken since. Grandpa sees this as a good thing, telling her she’ll make “some man happy someday.” It’s humorous, but he could have kept that joke for later when she knew him better. Perhaps her mother made a similar promise to return and never did??
Delphi is pretty bright and tough. She seems to know when she’s being conned, but after a few days, she knows him better and he doesn’t seem like such a bad person. She finally accepts him and the situation she’s in. Taking into account that she was raised by his son, the Baker keeps a close eye on her. Surely she has sticky fingers… and indeed she does. Delphi takes cash from the register and when he takes her to a restaurant for dinner, she takes tip money from a table.
Nothing gets by him and as they go to pay, he tells her, “Lunch is on you.” She has a temper and isn’t happy with him, but she has also learned it’s time to start doing the right thing. Her father has gotten himself into the trouble the Baker is prepared for.
Victor (Elias Koteas), who wants the drugs, tracks Peter down, but the Baker intervenes. When the Baker becomes more than Victor can handle, he gets Drug Lord Harvey Keitel (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) involved to help find him and the child. The men think grabbing an older man with a kid should be easy. There are flashbacks that tell us this grandfather, who’s no angel, has regrets and should. He didn’t take care of his son and didn’t feel compelled to. There is so much in his past; he worked with and for God knows who that all information about him has been redacted.
I loved Ron Perlman in this role. Though he is a lot older than in his “Hellboy” days, he’s still believable as a man capable of inflicting great pain on people and putting them down with the ease of a man half his age. No man and no situation is too hard for him to handle.
He has a way about him that should have been used more often in more roles throughout the years, but since he wasn’t, he’s as mysterious to us as his Baker character.
We never really know who he is, but we know him, and when it’s all said and done, he’s compassionate and kind, or at least he has realized he needs to be at this point in his life. He decides to protect a loved one and it’s in him to do it.
The entire supporting cast help carry this film as one to watch. Delphi is an interesting character. She has a sweet face that Grandpa can barely resist, even when Delphi’s being a little shit.
“The Baker” isn’t going to blow your mind or have a big bag of tricks you don’t see coming, but the combative savagery of the fight sequences and the outcome and aftermath of the action scenes are incredible to watch, even though they’re to be expected. Watch this Perlman gem… but it wouldn’t hurt to wait for streaming.
Director: Jonathan Sobol
Writer: Paolo Mancini, Thomas Michael
Starring: Ron Perlman, Elias Koteas, Emma Ho, Harvey Keitel
Rating: R (Language|Violence|Some Drug Use
Runtime: 1h 44m
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Producer: Doug Murray, William G. Santor, Nicholas Tabarrok
Production Co: Darius Films, Productivity Media
Distributor: Falling Forward Films