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