Review: Breaking Bad movie ‘El Camino’
Here is my first question to all my friends.
How many of you are a fan of ‘Breaking Bad?’
Breaking Bad is one of the most visited and best series to watch on Netflix. If you loved watching Breaking Bad in the past, then you might love ‘El Camino’ too.
If you remember, Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, is one of the main characters in ‘Breaking Bad.’ Netflix’s ‘El Camino’ is all about him.
Director Gilligan has well-executed and developed the plot around Jesse. The large part of the film is a flashback of ‘Breaking Bad.’ We get the reminiscence of several characters like Jesse’s partner Walter White, Skinny Pete, Badger, and his captor Todd.
In flashbacks, the scenes that are mostly seen are the fragments when Jesse was caged and his struggle to freedom.
The last scene of the Breaking Bad that I vividly remember Jesse screaming out loud while finally broke free from the shackles and speeding into the distance.
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Now, what had happened next to Jesse?
‘El Camino’ deals with that part of the story. There is no drug lord or drug business to deal with, it is only the part that the director has focused is ‘Jesse Pinkman’s journey to the path to freedom.’
Back then, in ‘Breaking Bad,’ I loved Jesse Pinkman more for being compelling, mythic, hilarious yet human in many ways, unlike Walter White.
‘Breaking Bad’ has made history for being one of the most notorious crime thriller TV series of the west. But does ‘El Camino’ was necessary?
Several critics have argued that closure is unnecessary rather invalid for a particular character.
But I ask why?
According to me, Jesse Pinkman is the ill-fated character of Breaking Bad; towards the end of the series, we saw a transformation of Jesse. When he was captivated under Uncle Jack, Jesse is a completely broken man.
In a scene in ‘El Camino,’ a moment tells countless emotions of Jesse, ‘when Todd took Jesse out from the cage and gave him little respite, on their way on the road when Jesse saw a gun in Todd’s car glove box he could have killed Todd. But he couldn’t. There was no courage left in him. He was weak and vulnerable to the core.’
The entire thought process of Jesse after getting out of the cage and trying to escape away from his identity and poisonous past is what ‘El Camino’ is all about.
I am sure the director must have intentionally given Jesse Pinkman a discomfiting ending in ‘Breaking Bad,’ unlike Walter White, who had a more clear closure ‘his death.’ Maybe he had thought of making a sequel, and ‘El Camino’ is a result of that.
I liked the fact that there was no dragging of the story or unnecessary add-ons. The film starts right from where it was left off years ago, which established an immediate connection between the audience and the movie.
So, Jesse drives the El Camino to start a new leaf of his life. But was it so easy?
Of course not. He is a wanted ‘figure’ in the town now from the authorities. There is only one escape, and that is ‘new identity and a new place.’
Along the way his night of partial freedom, he knocks on the door of Skinny Pete and Badger (two minor characters in Breaking Bad). They gave him shelter and treated him with respect.
The flashbacks started along with the story. Jesse spends most of his time trying to flee from being the suspect, and as he outruns flashbacks of his memories are showing.
‘El Camino’ is a focused and constructed 125-minute film – a self-contained story of Jesse Pinkman. There aren’t much dialogues for Jesse in ‘El Camino.’ Director Gilligan has made a wordless character and given Aaron Paul more space to communicate with his expressions.
His frustrations, anger, fear, and desperation for leaving and starting fresh all the emotions have come up strongly through his expressions.
Now, who are the audience?
Director Gilligan must have given a thought about the limitations of the audience. ‘El Camino’ will be enjoyed by them who have watched ‘Breaking Bad’ and have known the whole story. Because the story of ‘El Camino’ is connected. You have to know who Jesse Pinkman was or how does he end up in a cage captivated and what was his previous life looked like.
“El Camino’ is a solemn remembrance of ‘Breaking Bad.’ In my opinion, the film is a perfect closure to Jesse Pinkman. His path to freedom isn’t a simple one.
I loved both the first and last scene of the film, the opening scene where we see Jesse driving and screaming out loud, whereas, at the last scene, he is seen driving and calm.
The last scene symbolizes that he has finally attained his peace after years of struggle.