This feels like an extended episode of Breaking Bad. Like they sandwiched two episodes together and said “That’s it. That’s our epilogue.”
Taking place immediately after the finale of the show, El Camino opens with Jesse Pinkman as he escapes Jack’s compound. But the joy of his freedom is short-lived, as he soon becomes the target of a country-wide man hunt. Can Jesse outrun his past? Or will he soon find himself back in a cage?
I loved this movie! It had a few narrative things I wasn’t entirely fond of, but it was more than made up for with phenomenal visuals and some fantastic performances! As an extra ending to Breaking Bad, this movie was incredibly enjoyable and satisfying!
My biggest issue was with the flashbacks. Seeing brief flashes of Jesse’s torment under Jack and his gang is certainly horrifying and uncomfortable. But the actual narrative of it is lacking in my mind. All it really does is serve as an explanation for where Jesse gets things he needs in the present. There’s also one scene where Jesse could very easily have escaped and saved Brock at the same time, but he just… decided not to.
Luckily, all the stuff taking place in the present is incredible. We get a full view of exactly how Jesse has changed because of his time in captivity. He’s not the friendly, naïve young man he was at the beginning of the series. He’s hard, serious, brutal, fearless, and more than anything: cunning.
We also get some more character development for others in Jesse’s life. Badger and Skinny Pete get some much needed character growth, which is amazing considering their limited screen time. Seeing how Jesse’s parents react to everything is heart-breaking; you can tell that they still love Jesse, but they still think he should be arrested rather than helped.
The new antagonists of this film, however, are pretty forgettable. They have all of two scenes: Jesse meeting them and Jesse killing them. While the latter scene is super bad ass, featuring one of the best shoot-outs in the series, the actual character writing of everyone involved aside from Jesse is super weak.
I love the ending of this movie. Not only do we get an awesome flashback with Walt, as well as another with Jane, but we also get to see how Jesse’s story ends. And I honestly think it’s perfect! It’s satisfying, happy while also being tragic, and ambiguous. Where does Jesse go from here? Only we can decide that.
Visually speaking, this movie is incredible! Some of the shots are drop-dead gorgeous! My personal favorite is the overhead shot of the apartment; seeing the entire floor plan from above as Jesse tears the whole place apart is amazing! And the movie is full to the brim with shots just as incredible as that one!
Unfortunately, this movie still has the same issue that the show did: music. There just isn’t music throughout most of the film, and the few tracks there are are pretty forgettable! Did we even get the Breaking Bad main theme? I can’t remember! I’m pretty sure we didn’t!
I feel like I don’t even need to mention the acting. To no one’s surprise, it’s incredible. Aaron Paul is an amazing actor and his performance as Jesse is just as incredible as ever. Everyone else, from returning side characters to forgettable villains, are just as solid in their work as he is.
El Camino was a great movie. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still more than good enough to earn its place alongside the show in cinematic history. If you loved Breaking Bad, you need to watch this movie. Unlike so many other soft reboots or decade-later sequels, it doesn’t ruin the original ending. It actually enhances it.
And… now I’m out of Breaking Bad stuff to talk about. Unless Better Call Saul is worth a watch. But before I consider that, there’s another show I need to finish.
One that I am looking forward to finishing a hell of a lot less than this one.