EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE. Successful continuation of the series

Fans of Breaking Bad, to whom this sequel is mainly addressed, will be satisfied.

Lukasz Budnik

11 April 2023

In one scene from Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman tells the story of how he was supposed to prepare a self-made box for his optional high school woodworking class. He did not apply himself to the task, so the teacher asked him politely if that was all he could do. These words gave Pinkman food for thought. Over the next few days, he tried to create the perfect box, and finally, after several attempts, he achieved his goal – his work was perfect. He didn’t appreciate it, because he soon gave the box away for less than thirty grams of weed. He wasted his potential, not for the first time and not for the last.

In the end, however, nothing was as fatal to him as meeting Walter White on his way. Meeting a former teacher and establishing cooperation with him marked a turning point in Pinkman’s life, because in retrospect it turned out to be simply destructive. All attempts to straighten out – and over time Jesse made at least a few – were to fail, and White’s activities played a large part in this. In the final few episodes of the series, Jesse’s woes reach a climax as he is forced to cook meth as a slave to neo-Nazis who treat him worse than an animal. Pinkman is freed by White – at least in this way he can try to compensate him for all the wrongs. The last time we see Jesse on the show, he escapes in the El Camino car and screams at the top of his lungs, half in relief, half in despair.

At the same moment, we find Pinkman in the film epilogue of the series. Written and directed by the creator of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, the production focuses entirely on the character played by Aaron Paul and his further attempts to finally achieve peace – which can be metaphored by the box from the story quoted above. During the promotional campaign for this secretly shot film, the creators were very reticent about revealing plot elements and cast members (except of course the characters shown in the teasers), so I will not share details either. I will only write that, as announced by Gilligan, in El Camino we see a few familiar faces and each time it is a treat for Breaking Bad fans, even if the performance is only a small episode.

Although more than six years passed between the end of the series and the film, the passage of time is completely absent in Gilligan’s film. Stylistically, it does not differ from Breaking Bad, which is not a disadvantage, because it allows you to treat it as an integral part of the story. Gilligan and cinematographer Marshall Adams treat us with excellent cinematography, to which the series has already accustomed us, playing with the composition of the frame and making great use of interiors and exteriors. Made for less than six million dollars, the film looks sensational. Gilligan, in addition to a great job as a director, once again did a great job as a screenwriter. Let’s face it, the plot of El Camino is not complicated and lacks intrigue, which Breaking Bad was full of, but probably no one expected them. This is Jesse’s film, his journey, his memories and his attempt to make sense of his broken life. As such, it works very well and engages accordingly.

Much of this is thanks to Aaron Paul – the actor was appreciated for his performance already during the broadcast of the series (in which he never allowed himself to be completely overshadowed by the outstanding Bryan Cranston, and in some scenes he attracted the viewer’s full attention), and here he successfully returns to his most famous role , playing Jesse – a minor spoiler – at various stages of his life and perfectly portraying the changes in the character’s disposition, increasingly marked by the fateful events that affected him over time.

Fans of Breaking Bad, to whom this sequel is mainly addressed, will be satisfied – even if someone has had their own idea about how Jesse’s fate turned out, Gilligan’s vision should not disappoint him. For those longing for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul it is a great treat, filled with very good dialogues, a few twists and black humor. See if Jesse can finally create his perfect box.

Ɓukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

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