If you clicked on or flipped to this review and haven’t watched “Breaking Bad” in its entirety, get out of here. There are massive spoilers ahead, and I’d hate to ruin such a phenomenal show for you. Besides, it is 2019, and if you haven’t watched it by now, I seriously question your prioritization skills.
“Breaking Bad” is widely viewed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, so I, along with the rest of the world, was elated to see some form of a sequel being released. For me, it is top two. And it is not two. Quick shoutout to Drake.
This is a review about “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which was released on Netflix Oct. 11, as well as in select theaters. Vince Gilligan directed and wrote the film. For those unfamiliar, this is the same genius behind the “Breaking Bad” series. The film stars Aaron Paul, who reprises his role as the troubled Jesse Pinkman.
Poor Jesse. I found myself thinking this in almost every episode, as I watched the show and saw terrible things happen to him repeatedly. It’s like life was the scariest, most traumatizing carousel ride you could fathom — never easing up in terror, spinning around and round — and Jesse could never get off of it. He endured the most horrible things I’ve ever seen a character go through, and I really hoped there would be a brighter future for him in “El Camino.”
The movie picks up almost immediately where the “Breaking Bad” finale left off. After a brief flashback with Mike Ehrmantraut, played by Jonathan Banks, Jesse screams in celebration as he drives the film’s namesake car out of the white supremacist gang compound, where he was kept prisoner to cook crystal meth. As we all know, Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, went full “Rambo” and wiped out the gang with an oscillating M60 machine gun, or “Satan’s windshield wiper,” as Gilligan calls it. The liberated Jesse and his ex-partner, Walter, parted ways, fatally for the latter.
Right away, the viewer is thrown back into “Breaking Bad” like it’s 2013 — fast-paced and nerve-wracking, just like I remembered. The rest of the film highlights Jesse’s escape from Albuquerque, and the character appears in almost every scene throughout the film.
With Walter now dead, Jesse runs from his crime-ridden past, which appears to be right on his heels at every turn. Anybody who knows the story knows that Jesse is truly a kind-hearted person inside, and he was seemingly forced into the drug empire that Walter built off of his own greed.
I wanted a happy ending for Jesse in “El Camino,” or safe, I should say, as nothing is really happy with Gilligan directing. Safe is what I got. Jesse, or Mr. Driscoll now, is somewhere safe with a new identity and life, thanks to Ed, the vacuum shop owner who also sets criminals up with a new life for a hefty fee.
Allusions to “Breaking Bad” episodes, flashback scenes from deceased characters and the triumph of Jesse made this movie a perfect sequel to the legendary TV series and a strong closing to the saga. “El Camino” was absolutely outstanding.