The first Ron Perlman performance I saw was in HellBoy, and since that day, he has fascinated me as an actor. Sam Shepherd, actor-playwright, once said about Harry Dean Stanton, the great character actor, that he is one of those actors who knows his ‘face is a story.’ I would extend that compliment to Ron Perlman, whose entire body is a story in a sense. The long face, the heavy set, those intense beady eyes—his entire body lends itself to a mysterious subtext that the filmmaker might not even have hoped to communicate. Perlman has generally been seen as a force to be reckoned with, and indeed he is, but in The Baker, he gets to apply his craft to tell a touching story about a grandfather and granddaughter, bringing out a tender side of him. He doesn’t need to do much, as he does everything with just a glance or a shift in the body. That is his power. Great actors have that quality, and all the film’s Luc Besson-esque quality helps, but with Ron Perlman in the film, it gets elevated to a real drama in most places. If that wasn’t enough, there is the little girl Delphi in the movie, who goes toe to toe with Perlman, and her performance is simply outstanding.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The Baker is the result of some economical writing and constant attention to detail, but not in a fastidious sense. The movie’s premise is simple but effective. A man named Peter had to pick up a passenger from the airport in his limo, but something happened that completely changed his life. Peter found himself witnessing a gang war, and he got an opportunity to steal a bag when the dust settled. All the guys on both sides were dead, and the bag containing the magical pink substance, a drug known as Nova, was right there for the taking. He had to provide for Delphi, and this was perhaps the divine chance given to him. He took the bag and took Delphi to her grandfather Pappi’s place. Pappi, an imposing figure, saw everything Peter was trying to do. He sensed that Peter had some business to attend to, which is why he was asking him to take care of Delphi for a day. Delphi, a mute young girl, was a menace, with a budding kleptomaniacal streak in her. Peter left, and soon a call came, where Pappi heard a wimping Peter asking him to take care of Delphi. A gunshot followed, and Pappi’s journey began, pulling him back to the underworld, from which he had barely managed to crawl out.
How Did The Baker Find Out About His Son’s Death?
What had happened? Had Peter been shot? Was he dead? He now had Delphi with him to worry about, apart from all the questions. He didn’t want to tell her that her father was probably dead. And when he saw the hundreds of pink sachets, he figured out why someone would have harmed him. Delphi had taken the drugs out of the bag, and that left Peter with no leverage, and perhaps that was why he was shot. Pappi, ‘The Baker’s’ mind was running ahead of him, and he began with the legal route first. The police had nothing to do with Peter. The only possibility was that the criminals had gotten to Peter. When Peter was at his place, Pappi had heard him call ‘Milky’, and that the call was related to the ‘pink’ that Peter wanted to ‘move up’. Pappi started with Milky, terrorized him using his proficient fighting skills, and got to Sirko, the Ukrainian giant who worked for the Merchant, all the while taking care of Delphi. Nova was the Merchant’s product, and Pappi heard from Sirko himself that Peter was dead. Vic, the Merchant’s right-hand man, had killed him in search of the Merchant’s Nova.
How Did Vic Find Out About The Baker?
Milky had already told Sirko about Nova. Sirko worked for the Merchant, and he must have immediately told Vic about the drugs. There was no Nova to go around, and somebody had a huge quantity of the ‘pink’ to be sold, right when Merchant’s man was attacked and his bag was stolen. It couldn’t all be a coincidence. Vic must have gotten Peter’s address from Sirko, and the rest was easy. Peter didn’t know Nova was now at Pappi’s place, and the best he could do was call him one last time, warning him of the incoming dangers. Vic was under pressure, and when Peter did not give him anything to go by, he got to the Aryans, who were the rival drug gang whose men had attacked Merchant’s guy. Vic killed a kid and felt bad about being bossed around by the Merchant, but he had to finish the job and find Nova. Pappi had gotten to know about Milky’s whereabouts by going to the ghettos and waving the ‘pink’ around to get information about him. The word had gotten to the Aryans’ boss, and he was more than willing to tell it to Vic. He told Vic that the pink was now with an old man who called himself ‘The Baker,’ and yet Vic shot him. A bounty was placed on Pappi’s head, and restless Vic had to find the Merchant’s drug before his well of kindness dried up.
Who Killed The Merchant?
Delphi had hollowed out a big piece of bread from the inside, and Pappi had hidden the sachets in the bread. All the criminals were homing in on Pappi, along with the police. The moment he set foot in the police station enquiring about Peter, he set off Detective Petra Weintrager’s alarm as someone who was potentially a dangerous man. He was seen with a little girl, which made Petra take cognizance of the matter, and when Pappi’s history wasn’t found in any kind of database, her interest in the case was piqued. Now it was a question of who would get to Pappi first. A prostitute who was brought in for questioning had seen Delphi with Pappi. Bad luck was following Pappi; after his fight with Sirko, the same prostitute saw him and informed the gangsters. In came the bounty hunters, and while Pappi overpowered them, he ended up in the hospital. Delphi saved his life, misdirecting the incoming attackers, and Petra took care of them and gave Pappi time to escape the hospital, but not without an attacker’s mobile phone, where Vic had messaged him.
It was time to face Vic himself, who was on edge, thinking about whether he would receive Merchant’s mercy when he gave the news that Pappi was dead. But Pappi was a veteran. His criminal roots were deeper than Vic’s. Pappi easily could have killed Vic, but he left the job half-done. Delphi had seen him as he tried to drown Vic to death, and perhaps he didn’t want to seem like a monster. Pappi saw Peter standing there in Delphi’s palace for a second. This could be a hint as to why Peter had grown apart from his father. He must have seen him commit a gruesome murder, and hence his father had become a killer to him. Pappi didn’t want to commit the same mistake with Delphi. He didn’t want to be seen as the killer who brutally killed people, even while the other was totally helpless. Delphi had told him a lot about caring for himself and other people, and he had to show her that he wasn’t a monster. Vic was left alive, and through Vic, he reached the Merchant, who seemed to know ‘The Baker’. Apparently, Pappi was once known as ‘The Butcher,’ and both the Merchant and Pappi must have a military record, or they must have done some covert operations for the CIA. This could certainly be true for Pappi, as that would explain why his records were redacted from official documents.
During the ending of The Baker, Pappi returned the Nova to the Merchant, knowing fully well that his son wouldn’t come back to him, even if he continued the war. The most important person was Delphi, and Pappi planned to leave the place with her. The police were looking for him, and the best thing was to leave the country. Where he went wasn’t disclosed, but he would choose a country where he would have some former friends and where extradition wasn’t easy. As for who killed the Merchant, it could be Vic, who was fed up with his contempt-fueled behavior. The Merchant would have killed Vic as he had been unsuccessful in killing Pappi, and the Merchant had made it clear plenty of times that Vic wasn’t ‘family’. So Vic wouldn’t have hesitated to kill him. Now there was no one after Pappi, and Vic wouldn’t commit the mistake of going after him again. There is another theory that Pappi himself could have killed the Merchant, as he had recognized him, and that could be a problem later. Whatever the truth, Pappi was glad Delphi was alive and well, and now he had the opportunity to raise her; that was what he was going to live for now.