Audio review available on Episode 157
What happens after the story ends? Do you remember when Breaking Bad ended and after the final episode some folks wondered “Wait, what happens to Pinkman?”. Good news for those curious fans; we now have an answer.
The cinematography, the score, the intense moments of life or death and the incredible acting performances that drove Breaking Bad to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time are all here. I was engaged on screen throughout the mass majority of this film. Just like the show. I felt the tense moments of multiple scenes and situations the characters were placed in. Just like the show. I loved the score and surprise characters that show up out of nowhere. Just like the show. But unlike the finale of the show, I walked away feeling let down and disinterested. I suppose I just wasn’t one of the folks who complained they needed to know what happened to Jesse Pinkman.
Now, that’s definitely a ‘me’ problem. I was done when Breaking Bad ended. It wrapped complete to me. That being said, I did have great expectations for this movie. The typical Netflix hype was there. We got to know about it and that it was a thing that’s coming, but it wasn’t until a week before release date that we got any real info. That’s cool, my interest was peaked. I even allowed myself to read a “Could Walter White be alive?” theory or two.
So when El Camino was released over the weekend I was one of the first in line to check it out. I had forgotten how good of an actor Aaron Paul truly is. The way they worked in many Breaking Bad flashbacks reminded me of that beautifully. They didn’t show me the highlights from his best episodes or scenes. But they did show me his evolution as not only a character but as an actor. Remembering those early seasons when he was just some punk kid through the later chapters when he had arc’d through criminal mastermind to a broken man on the brink of death, or worse.
This film being completely about what happens to Jesse Pinkman directly after the events of Walter White have concluded mean that Aaron Paul is on screen 95% of the show. This movie is his swan song to the character and a reminder to Hollywood of just how damn good he can be.
How much can I praise a film that let me down. I hate to call it a 120 minute episode of Breaking Bad, but then again would that be such a bad thing? Like I said, the film making is there. It’s the plot that abandons me. There were three scenes of deep intensity. The same ‘edge of your seat’ drama that you became accustomed to during the TV Series. There is a beautiful investment into the psyche of Jesse Pinkman. We get to dive deep into his character development not only throughout the series but also throughout this film. How much PTSD does he still carry over from his time in captivity? How close was he and is he from breaking down? We also get to officially answer the question of whether or not Walter White survived or not. Which is cool, I suppose.
This movie is really good. I simply couldn’t get excited for any possible outcome because they never sold me on this story-line. As it ended it came with a shrug and a ‘huh, neat’ from me. A bit deflating especially when valued against the hype going in.
If you loved Breaking Bad. If you loved the character of Jess Pinkman, and/or you truly wondered what happened to him. If all of the above or even just one of these scenarios applies, go watch this movie now. I may not have loved its plot and story tie-in overall, but all the other aspects of this movie are truly fantastic.