2019, Movies

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019, Vince Gilligan)

Two disclaimers:

First, I watched the final season of Breaking Bad quite some time ago. Not the season it premiered but whenever it found its way to Netflix, so within a year or so of its premiere. Call it 2014 ish. It’s been a while.

Second, I hated the ending of Breaking Bad. But my hatred of the ending of the show had little to do with Jesse’s arc and everything to do with what might be referred to as “Checkov’s cancer failing to metastasize.” So even though the ending left a bad taste in my mouth – I honestly think it might be the worst ending of any “prestige” TV drama I’ve made it all the way through – it had very little to do with the plot of this movie. Anyway…

I was totally fine with Jesse driving off into the darkness as an ending. And this doesn’t really fix that so much as delay and extend that ending of his arc from the show. And that’s a good thing.

In the meantime, Jesse gets some kind of redemption but it’s not the ridiculous, fantastical, nearly-complete redemption that Walt got. Jesse’s semi redemption has moments of competence but is full of the stuff that made the show great – life getting in the way of plans and our hero having to improvise in sometimes absurd ways.

This movie also gives some minor characters from the show more screen time. (Hell, that may be why it exists, for all I know.) And though this feels super fan servicey, it also mostly works. Nothing about these appearances feels particularly forced, except perhaps the scene with Walt which I’m not sure adds anything.

Movie sequels to TV shows can be a lot worse. This mostly delivered on the things the show was known for and didn’t really wrap up Jesse’s arc in a neat little bow like I worried it might. 7/10

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