‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ is a worthy epilogue to Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece

Image from IMDb
Image from IMDb

When Breaking Bad wrapped up six years ago, viewers were left  wondering what would happen to the character Jesse Pinkman as he drove  away after being held captive. The show ended on a bit of a cliffhanger,  not really giving any clue as to where his character would go next. It  was frustrating not knowing what happened to him, yet also satisfying  because it left his character open to a world of possibilities. Once El Camino  was announced, some people, including myself, were a bit worried that it would undermine the ending of the show. I’m going to say that this movie is the best possible follow-up to the series that we could have gotten.

The movie follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) immediately after the  series finale. We go along with Jesse on his journey where he wants to  forge a new life for himself. However, in order for him to have a new  future, he must come to terms with his past. Along the way, he faces a  variety of tasks and threats that stand between him and his new  beginning. 

Fan service done right

Image from IMDb

What made this film work was that it didn’t concern itself with  forcing fan service into the movie, and it didn’t force characters or  references from the series just to get a reaction. Take, for example, Entourage. Four  years after the series ended, they released a follow-up movie that  showed what happened to the characters after the finale. With that  movie, they forced many cameos and unneeded throwbacks to the series  that didn’t make it a better movie. Those things actively got in the way  of the story. El Camino successfully avoids such traps. There  are cameos and a few throwbacks to the series that will excite fans, but  those things were very minor and felt necessary for the story they were  telling. This movie focuses all of its attention on telling Jesse’s  story and not anyone else’s. 

Another home run for Aaron Paul

This movie wouldn’t have worked as well as it did if not for Aaron  Paul. He once again gives a fantastic performance as Jesse, and this  movie is able to showcase his acting range. One of the things Breaking Bad did  best was show the evolution of the characters. When you take the  characters from the first season and compare them with to where the show  ended, they’re completely different characters, which is exactly what  happened in the movie as well. The Jesse we see at the beginning of the  movie is not the same Jesse we get by the end. El Camino  opens with Jesse in a broken state, not wanting to talk about what he  went through. Through a series of flashbacks, we’re able to see the  evolution of Jesse from his past self to his current state. 

A pace that doesn’t slow down

Image from IMDb

El Camino keeps a fast pace by jumping around the  story. There is a series of flashbacks throughout the movie that help  explain certain things the character is doing. Because of this, we don’t  spend too much time on one thing and are constantly craving to see  what’s going to happen next. Viewers feel the urgency of the situations  in which the characters find themselves, which adds an extra level of  entertainment.

However, there are a few times when you can feel the stress of the  character and you can’t wait to see how the situation will play out,  only to have the movie cut away from that moment. You’re then left  wanting to go back and see what’s going to happen, instead of focusing  on the movie explaining something else. Luckily this only happens a few  times and doesn’t take away from the movie itself. 

Brilliant storytelling

Just like Breaking Bad, the story is great. The show did a  great job of setting up things in the beginning that eventually have a  pay-off in the end. The movie follows that same formula by using  flashbacks to set up current events and throws in some twists and turns  to keep you on the edge of your seat. Overall, the story is brilliantly  executed as you would expect to come from the Breaking Bad universe.  Writer and director Vince Gilligan once again shows how talented he is  at crafting a story, characters, and paying attention to detail.  

Images: IMDb

Featured Image: IMDb

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