Movie Review — El Camino: A Breaking Bad Move

When I watched the last episode of Breaking Bad roughly two years ago, I felt a huge amount of emptiness.

First, because I finished one of the greatest TV shows of all time and I felt like I lost something at that moment that was very dear to my heart.

It was hard to let it go.

Second, because I felt that Jesse’s story line was left unresolved and unfinished. As much as I loved the Breaking Bad finale — after all, it was cathartic, satisfying, and deeply impactful on an emotional level — in the past two years I kept wondering what happened to Jesse after his escape. I always felt that this story would be well worth telling.

It looks like this lingering question was in Vince Gilligan’s head too the whole time since he finishied his (near) masterpiece of a series, but he only decided to answer it 6 years after the show’s original run has ended. Now, after finishing El Camino, there’s one question I asked from myself. Is this story really needed to be told, and if so, was this the right way to tell it?

Because the thing is, I thought that after I watched this movie, I would get a real closure, I’d have a fulfilling, meaningful, and deep cinematic experience, I’d get a definitive end to a character’s life and to a brilliant series.

I thought that if we got a 2 hour continuation to Breaking Bad in the form of a movie after all these years, there’s has to be a strong reason for that.

I thought that I’ll see something in the veins of Drive (to give you an example) – a movie with a high level of tension and suspense, an artistic piece of cinematic work about a person with a troubled life who is seeking for personal redemption and ultimately, is looking for an escape from his past.

I expected a lot of things but I have not expected the feeling of emptiness to hit me for the third time after finishing the movie. But this is exactly what I’ve got.

El Camino felt like a mostly pointless and lukewarm epilogue to a brilliant series, instead of something that would have elevated its brilliance to even greater heights.

It was a two-hour feature film, yet it felt like there’s so little happened in it. It was a movie that was almost completely devoid of any real tension. It was a movie basically about nothing. The whole script can be summed up in one sentence. 

[SPOILER STARTS] Basically, Jesse went to some places to grab some money and then he traveled to Alaska [SPOILER ENDS].

Literally, that’s it.

There are so many ways this story could have been told and/or expanded, there are so many interesting plot lines that could have been explored. Or at the very least, we could have gotten a razor sharp, tightly focused suspense thriller/drama/action movie with minimal dialog and with a high focus on building tension and atmosphere.

Kinda like a crossover between Breaking Bad and Vanishing Point (or think about any great escape movie).

However, what we’ve got instead is a movie with a lot of unnecessary padding and filler. We’ve got a lot of scenes that while are often good and quite tasteful, they don’t really move the story forward in any meaningful way and they don’t really deepen the characters any further than we’ve already seen them on the show. They are just there to extend the run time of the movie, in order to justify it to be a movie in the first place.

Expectations can be harmful, however, I’m not actually disappointed because the movie didn’t go the way I thought it would. I’m disappointed because I expected a meaningful and memorable movie that will be a worthy continuation and closure to Breaking Bad.

But what I’ve got instead is something that, while good enough, at the same time, nearly pointless, and again, it left me with a huge amount of emptiness.

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