When talking about the finale of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan often said that he thought Jesse Pinkman was driving off to his happy ending. Turns out it took a lot more driving that Gilligan had first thought.
What you need to know: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is as odd and twisting as the best of Breaking Bad and as solemn and deliberate in its execution as it needs to be.
If, like me, it’s been awhile since you last watched Breaking Bad, Netflix has put together a brief recap of the series focusing on Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
It’s helpful – but not essential – in understanding what’s going on in El Camino.
Gilligan – who both wrote and directed here – has maintained the unique feel of Breaking Bad while pushing Jesse’s story forward.
There parallel storylines: Jesse, in the present, trying to get himself outta Dodge (as it were), and flashbacks to Jesse’s time in that cage.
A number of characters from Breaking Bad have key parts to play in El Camino, while there are a few cool cameos that add to the depth of the film – and play to Jesse’s state of mind.
Because of the cage/captivity flashbacks, we see a lot of Todd (Jesse Plemons) while learning more about what happened to Jesse during that time.
In the present, key moments focus on Jesse’s friendship with Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and an attempt to get Ed (Robert Forster) of Best Vacuum Repair to help him leave town.
In between, there moments that key on the Todd flashbacks and Jesse’s ability to facilitate his travel plans and the obstacles in his way.
El Camino looks terrific – whether in Albuquerque or in the desert, Gilligan shoots every sequence with maximum attention to placing his cast exactly where they need to be in the frame.
As was the case in Breaking Bad, the cast is excellent – even the most minor cameos are presented with a conviction that makes their characters real, and the main players are superb.
El Camino: a Breaking Bad Movie was not an essential to the story, but it feels right and reminds us that, in the world of Breaking Bad, if you want to get to where you want to be, you will have to work for it.
Why should you watch El Camino?
Maybe because you feel about Jesse the same way as Skinny Pete, who tells Jesse, ‘You’re my hero and $#!+!
Final Grade: A