The Baker (2007)

dir. Gareth Lewis

A professional assassin wants a new life, and so he finds refuge by pretending to be a baker in a rural Welsh village. He’s got another assassin hot on his trail, and a bunch of murderous neighbours who’ve discovered his past and want to entail his services to kill their friends and family. The Baker is billed as a black comedy, sure, but the comedy is sorely lacking in this truly baffling film. Ostensibly, it’s supposed to be hilarious when our main character starts having sex with his love interest in a pile of food, rubbing butter all over each other because apparently that’s their fetish, but for the several arduous minutes this goes on for it’s never once funny, it’s just gross. Every single villager is an exaggerated caricature, so it’s hard to imagine any Welsh person finding these portrayals affectionate or insightful (which could again be forgiven if they elicited but one laugh). And some of the attempts at going “dark” are quite disturbing; The Baker proves that few films besides Four Lions can make exploding livestock funny. There are some valiant attempts at good acting – Damian Lewis is clearly doing his writer-director brother a massive favour here – but no amount of acting talent or enthusiasm can make this weird little film actually work.

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