Mild spoilers for Breaking Bad and El Camino follow.
I’m ashamed to say, that up until a couple of days ago, I had never seen Breaking Bad. I know, shame on me, right? But, I have righted that wrong over the last month and binged the entire show and I finished by watching El Camino over the weekend.
El Camino doesn’t really feel like a film, but rather an extended episode of Breaking Bad that serves as an epilogue to the series and wraps up the story of Jesse Pinkman, who we last saw escaping the Neo-Nazi compound in the finale of Breaking Bad. The film kicks off right where that ended and it follows on seamlessly and throws the audience straight back into the Breaking Bad world.
What follows is a bit of a slow-burn and the plot is extremely simple, following Jesse’s quest to evade capture and attempt to start a new life. It isn’t too cinematic and does feel like an extended episode of Breaking Bad, which works fine but may be disappointing to anyone expecting this to be a bit more fiery and explosive.
El Camino also utilises a number of flashbacks, which sadly is where the film really threw me off. I respect that actors are going to look older and different as it’s been many years since the show ended, but some of them looked drastically different and as someone who had only just binged the series, it was extremely distracting to see exactly the same character, supposedly at the same time as the series, looking quite a few stone heavier. I appreciate El Camino was filmed in secret and there was no time for the people involved to get into shape or to look more like they did during the series, but I can’t deny that it really bugged me and I did struggle to look past it as it was extremely distracting to me, which is a shame, because the performances were top-notch.
There’s not a great deal more to say about El Camino, as I don’t want to get too much into spoiler territory in case there’s anyone reading who was in the same boat as me and is considering watching Breaking Bad from the beginning. I did enjoy it, and I think it serves as a solid epilogue to the series and provides closure that I imagine many fans were craving for all these years.
However, I will admit that it seemed to lack something that made Breaking Bad so incredible and I personally came out of it feeling like I didn’t necessarily need it. It’s cool that it exists, but had the series ended without providing closure for Jesse, I think I would have been perfectly fine with that as well. It’s well made and considering they had to make it in top secret, they’ve done a pretty good job.
I’m sure we could debate for hours whether or not this film was needed, and I’m sure we’ll all have varying opinions, I would love to know yours!
I give El Camino a 7/10.