“El Camino” Review: Film provides epic epilogue to “Breaking Bad” series

“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story” is the highly-anticipated coda to the AMC series “Breaking Bad.” The story tells the journey of a man tortured by the past, seeking an escape from a demanding environment of suffering. 

 

Aaron Paul resumes his role as Jesse Pinkman, a young man deeply involved in the New Mexico meth production industry. Robert Forster (in his final film appearance) and Jesse Plemons deliver amazing supporting roles that deepen their previously established characters immensely. Other characters from the original series also make appearances, both in flashbacks and present day. “El Camino” is available on Netflix and was televised on AMC.

 

Beginning immediately after the events of the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” Jesse navigates Albuquerque after his and Walter White’s meth-making operation has been exposed. Jesse relies on friendly faces to help him understand how to stay hidden from the long arm of the law.

 

Vince Gilligan, creator and director of the series and its prequel spin-off “Better Call Saul,” brainstormed Jesse’s fate during the filming of its final season of ”Breaking Bad.” Shot in secret for 50 days around Albuquerque, a “Breaking Bad” movie has been anticipated since 2013 at the show’s end.

 

“El Camino” incorporates elements of noir, specifically in its visual effects. Shadows are utilized to note a sharp contrast in Jesse’s acknowledgment of what is right and wrong. “El Camino” is also largely a neo-western and includes a few recognizable tropes of the broad genre to be marveled.

 

Aaron Paul’s three-time Emmy-winning portrayal of Jesse doesn’t falter even once. His performance as a morally conscious but broken man who has had everyone close to him ripped away is woven into nearly every decision he makes. His tight grip on his fate forces him to make calculated choices and his desperation leads to riveting, intense interactions with both his closest accomplices and his savage adversaries.

 

Because it is an epilogue, “El Camino” does not stand on its own. The installment is absolutely meant to be preceded by “Breaking Bad.” Despite the six-year gap between the release of the series finale and the film, “El Camino” feels like a smooth continuation of one of the most highly rated television shows of the past few decades.

 

With a film so driven by the yearning for closure and a cast that has shown they won’t disappoint, “El Camino” serves as a brilliant conclusion to the Heisenberg legacy. With so much riding on this movie’s success, Vince Gilligan gifts his audience with an emotional adieu.

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