When Breaking Bad ended back in 2013, fans were in awe of how bold and beautiful of an ending they were given. This show captivated people of all ages and remained a hit success throughout its run on television. Like every good thing we experience, there’s always a small part of us that wants just a little bit more. After six years, creator Vince Gilligan gave fans that last little bit of story that we all needed. While Better Call Saul has been satisfying the void left by Breaking Bad, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie really feels like the closure that we never really got with one of the show’s most interesting characters: Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
When we last saw Jesse in the series finale, Walt had just freed him from his captivity and allowed him to get his revenge on Todd, the man who tortured Jesse and kept him locked in a cage. With Walt knowing he had been shot and his moments on this planet were running out, he has one final exchange with Jesse and then the two go their separate ways. Walt is seen on the floor of the lab bleeding out, while Jesse smashes through the gate of the complex he was being held at with an El Camino and cries as he feels freedom again. This movie starts off in that exact moment, with Jesse suffering from extreme PTSD and in need of some familiar faces to hide from the world with.
He turns to the two people who have always had his back, Skinny Pete and Badger. Jesse’s friends can see how brutally Jesse was treated and can see the pain in his eyes. They do everything in their power to nurse him back to health and provide him with all the tools he needs to keep running. He then sets off to complete a few tasks that he needs to do in order to even think about escaping this hell he’s still trapped in. Jesse visits many old acquaintances both in person and in flashbacks as he fights for a better life. Jesse has had so many awful things happen to him because of his choice to work with Walt, this movie is about Jesse finally doing things for himself and for his own peace and happiness.
This movie has SO much in it for fans of the show that I don’t want to even begin to say any more about the plot. Very much like the show, Vince Gilligan perfected the art of making an hour of television feel like it belonged in theaters. His storytelling abilities mixed with his natural talent for filmmaking have solidified him as one of the best working in Hollywood today. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I heard there was going to be a Breaking Bad movie. What El Camino managed to be was a two-hour episode of the show that felt like it could’ve fit right in after the series finale. But, with the benefits of working with Netflix, it also felt like a truly great crime thriller that you’d see in a theater.
Aaron Paul gave another one of his best performances in this film as Jesse Pinkman. This character went through a tremendous arc in the span of the series, very much like Walter White did. I couldn’t think of another actor today who could give the giant range of emotions that Aaron Paul gave when playing this character. The darker the story got and the more horrible things that happened to Jesse, the more raw and powerful his performances got. Some of the most well-known moments from the show are of Jesse being pushed to the brink of insanity. In this movie, you can feel the pain and fear as if you were with Jesse as he’s attempting to evade everyone he can.
Along with Aaron Paul’s award-worthy performance, this movie is full of cameos that will make fans jump off their couch and scream “They literally got everyone for this movie!” It would’ve been hard to make this movie without all these cameos because of how important Vince Gilligan has made them in the overall story. Even the smallest roles that were only in a few episodes of the show have a tremendous impact on this movie and Better Call Saul. The style that the movie was shot in is almost exactly the style of the show and really makes you feel at home again. There are some beautiful shots of Albuquerque, and those famous time lapse shots that were in every single episode.
Above everything else, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is a love letter to its die-hard fans that watched the show numerous times and can name every episode. Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, this movie is still a phenomenal thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat (and probably make you want to watch the whole show). This movie makes a perfect companion piece to the beloved series and fans should be happy to know that Vince Gilligan took his time to ensure that this was the best possible finished product that his show deserved.