El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is a Model Epilogue

Jesse Pinkman’s return is a subtle but earnest homage to the epic that is Breaking Bad.

Spoilers for Breaking Bad, obviously.

Sequelitis is real. I am not even going to go down the list of all the beloved series that got an unwarranted sequel extension, often with little to no payoff, or even worse, bringing detriment to the rest of the franchise. Breaking Bad is one of those TV shows that, throughout the majority of its run, sustained near-perfection with epic character building and riveting story. But of course, there were a few “open areas” in the narrative after the finale that I, like most people, took time to imagine resolved endings to. Clearly, writer/director Vince Gilligan did too, which is the genesis for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Thankfully, his vision was on point, and rather than opening up a new mystery box, this movie serves as a poignant resolve to how Jesse Pinkman’s story concludes after his freedom and the demise of Walter White.

This is without a doubt Aaron Paul’s best demonstration of excellent acting post-Breaking Bad. The movie takes off literally moments after the series finale, and right in Jesse’s seat of freedom after being treated like an animal for Lord knows how long. Aaron demonstrates with impressive talent exactly what that experience was like, which we only saw a small insight of during the finale. He takes the character in a pretty surprising but fitting direction too: there are not extensive callbacks to the early punk days of Jesse Pinkman: this is a character that has been through hell, and thankfully Gilligan and Paul are faithful to this concept when developing him.

What’s probably most impressive about this movie is that it’s still an exciting addition to the Breaking Bad saga, but remains inconsequential in its plot. There are no more mystery boxes to be opened for extending the storyline: this is the end of the road. That’s not to say the movie’s plot is uninteresting, on the contrary, there are plenty of tense moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. Much of this is driven by Jesse Pinkman’s mental state, throwing the audience’s expectations for what could happen next in limbo. That being said, yes, there are some good callbacks to the show, and as one might expect, some satisfyingly simple surprises for true Breaking Bad fans.

Is this movie revolutionary? No, but it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes, the best addition to an anthology is the simplest one, and El Camino: a Breaking Bad Movie exemplifies this concept. 7.62/10. (#M60)