El CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE gets 7.5/10 A bolt from the blue

Directed by Vince Gilligan

Starring Aaron Paul, Matt Jones, Charles Baker, Jesse Plemons, Scott MacArthur


The long anticipated Netflix spinoff, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, has left fans divided with Aaron Paul reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman.

While no spinoff attempt is ever without controversy, the critically acclaimed series ended on a cliffhanger that some die hard fans wanted resolved – what became of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) damaged protege after his dramatic escape from captivity?

Creator of the original series, Vince Gilligan, returns with a feature length answer that answers the question quite elegantly, in traditional Breaking Bad fashion. This story hits the ground running, picking up exactly where we left off. From beginning to end, all Jesse wants is freedom and he sees only one path to it and nothing is going to stop him from getting there. Sporting the mental and physical scars from his captors and deceased mentor, we see a dark and brooding version of the once lively and foul-mouthed rebel.

Jesse’s trauma is continually evident, providing him with the motivation he needs to find a way to solace. In a darkly ironic way, the position Jesse was in during the latter half of season five closely parallels the position he and Walt helped put so many of their ‘customers’ into by peddling their famous blue product. Well known to many, meth addiction leaves its users in a figurative hole, alone and scared, exactly where Jesse literally ended up when he was captured by Todd Alquist’s (Jesse Plemons) uncle, Jack Welker (Michael Bowen). Jesse’s journey exemplifies the struggle of getting over one’s addiction to greed, and how complicated the process is of cutting your ties with those that are addicted too.

The return of old faces throughout the film provides closure and clarity for Jesse and the viewers. As well as this, various flashbacks of Jesse with old friends and foes highlights the rags to riches to rags journey that Jesse was taken on by Walt’s alter ego, Heizenburg, reminding viewers of the downward spiral that became of Jesse’s life.

One would likely not enjoy this movie all that much if they had not seen all, if not most, of the TV series. Context provides all the meaning in El Camino which simultaneously enriches and undermines the show for viewers. At times, dialogue can be a little too self explanatory, simplifying the plot for the audience. This undermines the piece, marking a departure from a series riddled with layers of meaning that needed to be deconstructed – arguably a significant factor that made it so compelling.

However in creator Vince Gilligan’s defence, he did have a short amount of time to work with, vastly different from what he was used to. As well as this, the story had a goal and needed to wrap itself up in the time that a movie needs to, which unfortunately, is simply a limitation of the medium. Overall, fans should enjoy this film and walk away from it satisfied that there was a little bit more of the story to tell and it was worth while doing so.


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