Colson Baker’s Dramatic Gamble Doesn’t Pay Off

Jan 24, 2023

Taurus plays like a personal project, but that doesn’t make it good. However, Baker should take pride in knowing he has a future in acting.

Colson Baker in Taurus

Colson Baker has grand ambitions. He has the skill, talent, charisma, and star power to lead him to incredible heights in the music industry, and it seems he hopes to do the same as an actor. With several under-the-radar acting jobs already under his belt, Taurus seems to be the project that should push him higher on the list of in-demand actors. But just like in his last film, One Way, Baker proves he has the right instincts but ends up in underwhelming films.

Taurus is about the downfall of fictional rap star Cole Taurus (Baker). Without diving too much into it, he is basically a knock-off Machine Gun Kelly. Cole has reached spectacular heights, but cannot get his drug addiction in check, has a strained relationship with his daughter, and is utterly alienated from people who are good for him — not including his driver Ilana (Maddon Hasson). The story follows Cole on an ostensibly hellish week. He weaves through his days mostly high, losing grip on his career while watching his relationship with his daughter deteriorate due to his drug habit. Viewers briefly meet an up-and-coming singer with a promising start to her career. Instead of diving into A Star Is Born-style setup, the focus returns to Cole as he distances himself from everything dear to him, with everyone around him either encouraging his downfall or scrambling to prevent it.

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Colson Baker in Taurus

At its core, Taurus is not good, but Colson Baker is good in it. The film’s themes and genre suit him well, and in this case, challenge him as a performer. However, when it comes to Taurus, one has to wonder how much of this film is an outlet for Baker, more famously known by his rap moniker Machine Gun Kelly, and how much of it is a plea for help. Aside from the story following a self-destructive artist who is made to look no different from Baker, Cole’s eccentricities are nearly identical to what Baker exhibits regularly. It further blurs the line between reality and fiction, especially with the brief inclusion of Baker’s real-life partner Megan Fox. The way this film weaves fact with fiction is unsettling because its ominous end can be read as either prediction of what’s to come or the alternate path Baker would assuredly go down if certain things were different.

The feeling of disillusionment and depression is outstandingly realized, but the film is not without significant faults. Taurus meanders as Cole moves from one situation to another with increasing alarm for his well-being. The loose thread that connects everything is Cole’s sobriety, or lack thereof, and his inability to grasp what started him off on his journey as an artist. Taurus further complicates itself with a subplot involving a shooting which is rendered almost laughable when it ties back to Cole’s narrative. The incomprehensible nature of gun control in America manages to stifle the laughter as the circumstance presented is all too real. This is one of four plot points that never quite meet. Taurus concludes with a solid foundation in place, but nothing else. The film gives very little.

Colson Baker and Maddie Hasson in Taurus

Director and screenwriter Tim Sutton was not wrong to have Baker be his muse, but the film is utterly unimaginative, wholly predictable, and without substance. The cautionary tale about the predatory nature of the music industry, the high demands of life as a public figure, and drug addiction are present in ideas only. There is nothing in the film’s execution worth contemplating. Taurus is running on fumes before it even reaches its second act.

There is no doubt that Baker is a man with a world of life experiences under his belt. Taurus is a testimony on a life he could have fallen victim to or perhaps has managed to survive. Taurus probably hits close to home as many of his peers and artists before him have succumbed to the problems Cole Taurus has. Taurus plays like a personal project, but that doesn’t make it good. However, Baker should take pride in knowing he has a future in acting; he just needs to pick better projects.

Next: Disenchanted Review: A Fairy Tale Gone Wrong Makes For Charming, Stuffed Sequel

Taurus opens in theatres, on-demand and on digital on Friday, November 18. It is 98 minutes long and is not rated.

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