El Camino (2019) – Review

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) does a splendid job when returning in the well anticipated Breaking Bad movie. Reprising his role as Albuquerque’s favourite drug dealer, the now scarred and shaven headed fugitive faces the daunting task of starting fresh and escaping his demons, while being chased by the authorities and perhaps more dangerously, his past. An enjoyable and fitting tribute to the Jessie Pinkman character that is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Vince Gilligan
Writers: Vince Gilligan
Starring: Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Matt Jones, Charles Baker

Rather surprisingly, I do believe that even if the viewer had lived under a rock for the last decade and was completely oblivious of Breaking Bad, the television show, before strapping in to watch this one, they would still see El Camino as an entertaining experience. For sure, there are many old faces that make you smile throughout and Jesse himself seems like the Jesse of old in many scenes, but the general storyline and plot were kept relatively simple and easy to follow, even for the more casual Netflix viewer. 

The opening scene sees Jesse reuniting with fan favourite, Mike (Jonathan Banks), with both discussing the possibility of Jesse starting fresh across the US border in Alaska. Another old face returning was that of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who returns briefly, much to the joy of most.

During the movie, the filmmakers inject flashbacks to the times of Breaking Bad, which add context to what were seeing here – these events were well shot and often timed greatly, but more importantly the filmmakers did a brilliant job of informing the viewer (particularly the Breaking Bad fans) of how he’d spent the time that the television show could not quite explain. It also managed to capture both the physical and mental torture he went through and really made you reinvest yourself back into Jesse Pinkman, the character. 

It could be argued that some of the scenes were a little bit too long and felt slightly drawn out, but I’d most definitely be lying if I said I hadn’t expected that to some extent heading into the flick. I’d also be lying if I said most of the scenes that were a little bit too long and drawn out, didn’t have me on the edge of my seat – the tension and sheer suspense was there throughout, a real strength of the movie.

In the past, plenty of long running successful television shows have ended up forcing highly demanded and much hyped spin off shows or films similar to El Camino, but they never seem to be able to meet expectations – this however, gave justice to the Breaking Bad series on a whole, and completed Jesse’s story in an extremely satisfying way.

“Wow. It’s like I’m here with Sinatra…”

Walter White – El Camino

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