The Baker (2022)
February 5, 2024 7:40 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] An elderly baker (Ron Perlman) must do everything he can to protect his granddaughter from gangsters.

Also starring Elias Koteas, Harvey Keitel, Joel David Moore, Emma Ho.

Directed by Jonathan Sobol.

57% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Hulu. JustWatch.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total)
I wanted to like this, but I couldn't even finish it. If I missed out, let me know, but I sincerely doubt it.

The scenes with the Baker and his granddaughter were good, but honestly, I resented them. Literally everything else in the movie was yawn-inducing. Were it not for the Baker/granddaughter scenes, I'd have turned this off sooner and saved even more time.

There is no satisfaction in what I saw. Cranky old man revenge yarns depend on satisfaction: satisfaction at seeing someone underestimated prevail; the satisfaction of seeing someone unexpected be wildly competent; satisfaction at seeing very bad guys (and notably, usually charismatic bad guys) get what is coming to them; the satisfaction of brutally competent and exciting action scenes.

But nothing I saw in the first 2/3 of the movie executes any of that. People assume they can deal with the Baker easily, but not in the condescending way where you can't wait to see it turned on its head (as in Nobody). And he's able to kick ass, but not in any kind of performatively vicious or skillful way, as in Taken. He is non-specifically tough. The bad guys are bad, but Elias Koteas plays it flat and cheaply cruel. There is no theatricality or grandiosity in his evil, so it's not exciting to see him taken down as in the John Wick films. And the action scenes aren't even particularly memorable.

Real bummer, as Perlman is solid as ever.

I might hate middling/competent/mundane films even more than I hate bad films. This isn't bad at all. It is competently made and acted. But this subgenre of movies exists as a pressure relief. And this movie isn't good enough at any one of the component parts to manage that.

I'd rather watch a 1 star action movie swinging wildly like an angry drunk, then a mediocre one, rotely working the body with body shots.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:44 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]

Is it “over 50s revenge fantasy month” on fanfare?
posted by The River Ivel at 8:50 AM on February 5

I think the movie industry's thing right now is "Guy just trying to do his mundane - very mundane - job is driven to violence, and proves remarkably adept at it."

I can only assume they're going for the market of people in that particular niche job who want a little fantasy where they're badasses who show all those people who've been shitting on them for years. Show them real good.

Personally I am waiting for "The Technical Writer IV." It should be a real kinetic action spectacular. I'm thinking Statham, Tom Hardy. Or maybe Colin Firth a la Kingsman because he's slightly more attainable for the target audience.
posted by Naberius at 10:54 AM on February 5

I get that you're doing a bit, but this is something I have genuinely thought about a great deal.

These are precarious times and people feel threatened. Some of those folks are feeling a rote (and probably deluded) crime-is-up! vibe that echoes some feelings from the 1970's/early 1980's, or even the updated version of that with mass shootings, political violence, and increased hate crime. But I also think it's a bit more abstract than that for others.

We go into every day knowing we could get laid off. We could get slapped with a health care bill that wipes us out. Heck, many people could get legislated into oblivion. The number of ways a person could be rendered powerless are countless in 2024.

So there is an entire subgenre of movies where someone is underestimated, treated as powerless, and it turns out to be a huge fucking mistake. And this satisfies something very deep-seated, in an obvious way for the Death Wish wannabes and maybe in a less obvious way for people genuinely under the boot in the year 2024 or just worried about creeping fascism.

Some of them are better than others. This was not one of the better ones.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:24 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]

But clearly he could easily take out either the Bricklayer or the Beekeeper.
posted by sammyo at 10:49 PM on February 6

« Older Movie: Retfærdighedens Ryttere...   |  Movie: Chain Reaction... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments