Review: El Camino

Nolen Stevens, Opinion Editor

El Camino (2019) is the continuation of the story of the hit TV show, Breaking Bad, following Jesse Pinkman after the character’s ambiguous fate in the final episode of the show, Felina. The film premiered on Netflix October 11, 2019 and is written and directed by Breaking Bad creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan.

El Camino stars Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman and follows the character as he strives to escape both the psychological effect of being held in slave-like conditions for a year and the law trying to apprehend him for his previous crimes as partner to the infamous meth cook Heisenberg (AKA Walter White) during the events of the TV show.

Jesse turns to the help of his friends Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matthew Jones) to introduce him back to the real world and Ed the Vacuum Guy (Robert Forster), who makes people disappear and gives them new lives for a large sum of money for help evading the law.

Most of the film pertains to Jesse’s quest to obtain the money for Ed, all while having constant flashbacks to his captivity at the hands of Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons).

The technology in this movie is fantastic. The cinematography is beautiful, with rich color grading, naturalistic, yet somewhat stylized lighting, and interesting composition all over the board. The cinematography is very reminiscent of an old western movie in my opinion. The editing, sound, and musical composition in the film are also great.

The acting is phenomenal from everyone across the board, especially Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman and Charles Baker and Matthew Jones as Skinny Pete and Badger respectively. The writing is a mixed bag. The dialogue and pacing are very good, however the one flaw I see with this film is in its character arcs.

The way I see it, this film didn’t need to exist. Jesse doesn’t change in this film, he just goes from point a to point b and reflects. The film was simply to show his journey, and had no clear purpose to serve.

I think that this is a slight missed opportunity, however the film is still wildly entertaining and I would recommend that fans of Breaking Bad watch this movie, but if you haven’t seen the show—please watch it first. It’s worth the watch.