El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Review

Jesse Pinkman gets the conclusion he deserves in this excellent epilogue to the Breaking Bad series.

The Choices We Make

 

Breaking Bad is the greatest television show of all time and was perfect from start to finish. Everything was resolved, everything came to a conclusion, and every character arc was fulfilled…except for Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s partner in the meth business. Any fear of El Camino being tacked on and forced entry is immediately cast aside with this brilliant film that throws us back into Vince Gilligan’s world with ease and presents a tense, emotional, and gripping journey from start to finish. 

At the conclusion of the series, Jesse Pinkman escaped from his captors after being imprisoned by Neo-Nazis and forced to cook meth. Now free, Jesse works to truly walk away from all of the tragedy and brokenness in his life and hopefully start new. 

Aaron Paul easily slips back into the role of Jesse providing him with the same pathos, vigor, and intensity that was was his character 6 years ago. There truly is still a story to tell with Jesse and a character arc that has not been completed and Paul delivers a phenomenal performance that continues to make us care for Jesse. He has been through a lot after being locked up for 6 months, and there is plenty of room to show both growth and the damage he has faced throughout the course of the original show that still lingers with him today. 

The story is based left as a surprise as the trailers were exceptionally vague as to what could be in the movie. As I mentioned before, this is definitely a story we needed and doesn’t feel as if Vince Gilligan was just wanting to make money. You can tell that the idea of leaving Jesse’s story vague and open-ended at the end of Breaking Bad haunts Gilligan, and the passion is definitely seen in this project through the expert direction and following on the bread crumbs left behind. Jesse is damaged and broken, how does someone like that move on and what can he do to move forward? The movie answers this question and wraps up everything beautifully. 

The movie is very reminiscent of the original show, excellent direction and cinematography, gripping tension, and action packed yet strategic maneuvers by our characters. The shots are gorgeous of wide city shots, and desert landscapes that reminded me of the beauty of the original show. This is expertly helmed and shows that this world is still alive and beating even though we haven’t been a part of this story for so long. 

The movie is tense in all the ways that you are familiar with. There are so many moments that I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Jesse would survive and it was riveting. I literally was screaming at my TV during one scene and it was utterly captivating the way that Gilligan is able to create moments of tension. Will Jesse get caught? Will Jesse survive this encounter? What is this character going to do? My mind was going a million miles per minute and it was a fantastic experience. 

The movie utilizes a number of cameos from the original series and it was such a treat to see some characters return even if it was just for a small scene. Some of the cameos you may be able to predict, but other ones genuinely surprised me to see that they got them to come back for this role. All of the cameos make sense and are used to either introspectively look at Jesse, understand something about his character, or explain why something may be happening. Vince Gilligan was notorious for showing us that everything is intentional and never just for the sake of doing it, and that’s what made the cameos so exciting. 

The movie is a perfect swan song to Jesse Pinkman and puts a full period on the end of the Breaking Bad story. Every arc is fulfilled, every thread is wrapped up, and every stone is turned over. Vince Gilligan gave us a great end to his brilliant series and showed us just how good it was to be a fan of the series. I wish I could get more from this universe, but I am glad that everything was brought to exciting and perfect conclusion for all of the characters I have so desperately grown to care for. 

 

9.2/10 Gripping

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