Arts & Entertainment

Review: ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’

By Charles Rogers
Contributing Writer

The newest edition to the “Breaking Bad” universe “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” features Jesse Pinkman, after his daredevil-like escape, fleeing the neo-Nazi compound in Todd’s El Camino. As the only surviving main protagonist following the conclusion of season five of the show, the film aims to provide closure to Jesse Pinkman’s storyline. After six years of waiting and nine months of writing and producing, the closure over 10 million people have so desperately waited for has arrived. And it did not disappoint.

At the end of the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” audience members were met with conflicting feelings over the symbolic and disturbing death of Walter White, more notoriously known as Heisenberg. Even more disturbing, however, was that we were left with no dramatic resolution or any closure to the show’s most beloved meth dealer: Jesse Pinkman.    

Thrown back onto the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico after months of solitary confinement, Pinkman (Aaron Paul) seeks help from a few familiar faces. Returning cast members Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger Mayhew (Matt Jones) aid Pinkman in the flight of his life, while also providing inappropriately timed comedic relief that somehow feels so appropriate and in-line for the franchise. “El Camino” gives Pinkman’s redemption arc the ending he deserves because he gets the opportunity to save himself for the first time. There is no bailout from assisting actors Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) or Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter). Pinkman must survive on his own.

The main storyline depicts Pinkman’s quest to garner $250,000 to get the help of Ed Galbraith (Robert Forster), an associate of Saul Goodman who can make any man disappear. Short on cash, Jesse must utilize his wits, memories and experience accumulated from years of working under a notorious drug kingpin to escape his sinister past.

In a wild journey involving a shootout with cocaine snorting welders, massive explosions, faux police officers and a desert burial, “El Camino” certainly maintains the level of intensity that “Breaking Bad” fans have come to expect from Gilligan. The movie genuinely feels like a continuation of the show. In fact, the movie does not feel like a movie at all. Rather like a season five finale, part two. 

Renee Schonfeld from “Common Sense Media” describes “El Camino” as “a masterful job of providing a final chapter for a series noted for its remarkable characters, great acting, vibrant story and insightful take on good and evil.” Others like Prahlad Srihari from “Firstpost” worry that the film is too predictable in plot and scope. The cohesive nature of the writing combined with the brilliant acting from Aaron Paul makes this movie such a spectacular and raw one-off.

Vince Gilligan, the creator and director of “Breaking Bad” and subsequent spin-off “Better Call Saul,” masterfully emulates the style of the aforementioned series. The film utilizes those familiar suspenseful close-ups of characters and wide-angle shots of the New Mexico desert that have become synonymous with Gilligan’s work. Additionally, the film features ample cut scenes and flashbacks that provide insight prior to Pinkman’s escape from the neo-Nazis. Jumping back and forth between the past and present provides insight and meaning to Jesse’s relationship with one of his captors, Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons).

The season five finale of “Breaking Bad” provided a perfect ending for a perfect show. So, when fans learned of the existence of the film, many concerns were raised. Why risk ruining an already perfect ending? Although those concerns were valid, enthusiasts of the show have nothing to fear. The movie does not impact the legacy that “Breaking Bad” has established. Rather, it eloquently and explosively wraps up Jesse’s plotline. Viewers should expect to be thoroughly entertained throughout the entire suspenseful and action-filled storyline. “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” is a must-see for any meth-loving, neo-Nazi-hating, superfan of the original Golden Globe-winning show “Breaking Bad.”

Categories: Arts & Entertainment