“El Camino” Review: film leaves much to be desired

By Jake Ditto

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Ben Rothstein

“El Camino” takes place directly after the events of the final episode of “Breaking Bad” and shows the conclusion to the story of Jesse Pinkman, one of the show’s lead characters.

The film is directed by the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan. This film proves Gilligan’s competence behind the camera. He was able to get some great performances out of the cast and worked well with cinematographer Marshall Adams to create a great looking film with some very impressive shots.

The most memorable aspect of the film was Aaron Paul’s performance as Jesse Pinkman, who does the best work he has ever done in a movie. In the final few episodes of “Breaking Bad,” Pinkman’s story ended with him locked in a cage; “El Camino” partially explores his PTSD from that experience. Paul brings out a more mature and emotionally distressed version of this character than we’ve ever seen before. I do wish that Gillian explored Jesse’s PTSD more than he did. It was shown in the first 15 minutes and was very memorable. Unfortunately, this wasn’t brought back up in the rest of the film.

This film was a major disappointment. One of the most frustrating things about the film were the cameos. While I enjoyed seeing past characters from the show, there was no purpose for most of them and they were just added for fan service. For example, the first scene shows a flashback with Pinkman and old character Mike Ehrmantraut. It didn’t add much to the story and was overall pointless to the plot.

The plot of the film was irritating in more ways than one. This movie is over two hours long and a large portion of that time comes from flashbacks with Jesse Plemons’ character, Todd. These flashbacks were annoying because they only served as exposition (necessary explanations for the audience), helping Jesse to get from point A to point B. Any time a flashback was shown, the film came to a staggering halt. If the film was rewritten to where the flashbacks were not necessary, then the film’s run-time could be cut down by 30 minutes.

“Breaking Bad” is filled with some of the greatest antagonists in TV history, like Tuco Salamanca, Gustavo Fring and Uncle Jack. The same can’t be said for “El Camino.” This film has two incredibly forgettable antagonists and, because of this, has one of the most anticlimactic endings I have ever seen. The film also fails at being a character study in which Jesse is his own antagonist. It was just lazy writing for two antagonistic characters who added nothing of use to the film as a whole. 

The film also breaks rules that were established in “Breaking Bad.” Without spoiling the plot of the show or movie, Saul Goodman laid down rules in “Breaking Bad”’s fifth season. The refusal to follow these rules, written by Gilligan himself, created a massive plot-hole that can’t be ignored in “El Camino.”

I wasn’t expecting this movie to be a jaw-dropping masterpiece, but I was expecting more than what we got. I don’t think that the movie was a necessary addition to the “Breaking Bad” story; Pinkman’s end should’ve stayed as ambiguous as it was left at the end of the show. This is a Netflix original film and was released for streaming at midnight on October 11, meaning that those with Netflix subscriptions can watch “El Camino” without buying a movie ticket. The film will also air on AMC, the station that ran the original “Breaking Bad” series. Since the movie doesn’t cost any extra money, I recommend it for fans of the original show who want closure for Jesse Pinkman’s character.

Grade: C-

Story by Jake Ditto



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.