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El Camino (2019)


El Camino is not a great movie if you haven’t seen the Breaking Bad finale. Much like Downton Abbey, this is a fan's service movie. Breaking Bad is a phenomenal TV series that deserves a watch if you haven’t seen it. Due to the nature of this movie, there are TV series spoilers ahead.

In the finale of Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman drives away in an El Camino after being freed by Walter White. Walter gets a complete wrap up in the series finale and his story arc is closed. Jesse, on the other hand, disappears into the night. Jesse was originally supposed to be written out of the show after the first season, but his favored status with fans kept him in for the entire run of the show. This is the closure that fans deserve for their favorite character.

The film is written and directed by Vince Gilligan and it shows. This is very much an extended Breaking Bad episode. The delivery mechanism is perfect. The impact of the series finale would not have been as good had additional episodes existed. A streaming service movie of two and a half episodes of content feels just about perfect.

The movie has several flashbacks to bring in some characters from the past. Todd, the young and awkward white supremacist, has a significant part. Todd is a super creepy dude and gets even creepier in this plotline. Jesse Plemons, who plays Todd, has a knack for playing creepy people; check out Date Night.

Badger and Skinny Pete also make a re-appearance in a wonderful sequence of the three friends reunited. The shower scene is a powerful representation of what is going on in Jesse Pinkman’s head. Ed, played by Robert Forster, also makes a comeback. This film is the conclusion to his career; he passed away the day it was released.

This movie did not need to be made, but I am glad it was. Vince Gilligan wrote a perfect postscript for a beloved character. Jesse’s story arch comes to a wonderful close that feels as satisfying as Walt’s. Streaming services are a wonderful avenue for a movie like this to be made that did not exist in the past.

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