Friday, January 24, 2020

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  El Camino:  A Star Wars Story.

El Camino:  A Breaking Bad Movie – 4 out of 5

There’s no denying what a show Breaking Bad was.  It was just an incredibly written, terrifically acted and insanely addicting television show that was filled with interesting characters.  I was pretty consumed with watching the rise and fall of Walter White and, despite some minor complaints, I felt the show ended fairly well.  However, the world still had stories to tell and it delivered them in a spin-off series; Better Call Saul (which I love!), and, most recently, a Netflix film.  Despite enjoying the series, I dragged my feet on this one because Netflix film’s don’t have the best track record with me but I recently sat down with El Camino:  A Breaking Bad Movie and really enjoyed it!

Trauma, bitch!

After the events of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) freeing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) from his captors, Jesse flees in a stolen El Camino to the home of his friends; Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker).  His friends agree to help him get rid of the hot vehicle while Jesse goes on to find people from his past that can help him start a new life, all the while he is having flashes of the horrors his life has been since he came in contact with Walter White.

He's the one who knocks...because he really hates doorbells.

El Camino made me realize how unfulfilling Jesse’s conclusion was in the finale of Breaking Bad.  At the time when I watched it, I thought it was an okay sendoff to the character and didn’t get too worked up about his conclusion.  This film shows how much potential there was still in the character and how I didn’t fully realize how satisfying of a conclusion I needed for Jesse.  This story gives the character the happy ending that he deserved and it tells the story in the same engaging and captivating way the series was.  In fact, that is one of the best parts about this film.

To be fair, he had to supplement his income with relocating people because why
on earth would vacuum stores still exist?

I was incredibly impressed with how the film looked and felt exactly like the series.  This dynamic not only made it feel like no time had passed since the finale but also helped suck me in because it felt like I was right there back with the series.  The overall tone and atmosphere mixed with the story structure of series creator (and writer and director of the film) Vince Gilligan made the entire experience feel like an extension of the series finale.  Hell, even seeing the familiar supporting faces that came and went in Jesse’s life just adds to this and the overall feel of a return to form of the show.  Sure, it probably could be argued that the film is leaning towards the nostalgia of the show and throwing on some fan service as it doesn’t really bring in new characters but this felt less like this tactic and more towards keeping with the spirit of the show.

Explosion, bitch!

Just like the show, the performances are great.  Everyone feels exactly like they did in the series and there’s no wonkiness as they get back into character.  While every performance is great, ultimately it all came down to Aaron Paul.  The whole movie is about Jesse and Paul really nailed this chapter of Jesse’s life.  Jesse has and always will be the breakout star of Breaking Bad and he was definitely always one of the more sympathetic characters on the show (probably the most would be Skylar—the nightmare that woman went through) and he continues this as we watch Jesse try to escape the past and the hell he’s been through.  His pain, frustration and even fear over what has happened to him is palpable and watching Paul bring this to life was incredibly interesting and engaging.

Jesse gets super badass in this one, too!

El Camino:  A Breaking Bad Movie continues the show in the best way possible.  It has great acting, a terrific story and, most importantly, it offers up the conclusion to Jesse’s story that he deserves.  Overall, I was very impressed with this one and is one of those rare Netflix film’s that ends up working out.  Without a doubt, that is completely due to the property and the fact the series creator was involved but, still, it’s one of those seldom great Netflix feature films.

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