Before I begin, for those that had not watched “Breaking Bad,” there might be minor spoilers relating to the TV show and film. You have been warned! Anyway, after seeing the “Breaking Bad” series on Netflix back in 2015, I felt the show needed further explanation of its ending. Two important questions that come up are why the last season had to become dreary in its outcome, and how does the story of Jesse Pinkman, played by Arron Paul, differentiate from Walter White, played by Brian Cranston. “El Camino,” a standalone Netflix film, delivers its promise to fans of making this film the true swan song of “Breaking Bad.”
One of the many positives that I had with this film was its central plot revolving on Jesse Pinkman’s backstory. Directed by the great Vince Gilligan, the film carries out its film scenes similar to a regular episode of “Breaking Bad.” Instead of breaking the film down to mini sequences, the film has moments of flashbacks to summarize what transpired to the main character. Personally, I found this film style to be a pro as well as a con, probably because it diverts the focus away from the main story. Regarding this film, flashbacks were definitely needed to remind the viewer that the film’s story takes place after “Breaking Bad.” In my opinion, it is not recommended to see the film first over the TV series. By doing so, the viewer truly becomes spoiled in understanding the full story.
In addition to its creative plot, the acting in the film was superb. There were some scenes where I felt sympathy toward Pinkman’s emotional state. Pinkman’s partners, Badger (played by Matthew L. Jones) and Skinny Pete (by Charles Baker), had some kind of chemistry that I found ridiculous yet reassuring, since most of the film centered on a darker tone. The director did a great job in setting the mood of each character and what their end result was in Pinkman’s story. Also, the film is composed of a diverse cast with some cameo appearances of previous actors from the TV series. In addition, the cinematography is great since it allows the viewer free reign of imagination over what the environment was like and the suspense that it carried. In one scene, when Pinkman was hiding from the cops, the camera angle did a grand job in capturing Pinkman’s mood and the situation he faced. The last positive was that this film did not cost me a dime, since it was Netflix film.
The drawback that I had with this film was its time length. For those that want a shorter film, the time length was roughly two hours. Part of the reason it was long had to do with the screen time for each character, particularly the flashback characters that made a cameo appearance from the past Breaking Bad episodes. Rest assured, after witnessing a flashback scene for five minutes, the film went back to maintaining its story by focusing on Pinkman. Another drawback that the film had was the amount of dialogue given to each character. I found this to be a minor nuisance since it allowed some scenes of the film to progress a little longer, but this was a “Breaking Bad” film after all.
The last drawback that the film had for me was that there were no comedic scenes present in the film. Due to Pinkman’s decent to madness, the direction did not need comedy unlike what was shown from the TV series. In my opinion, it might have been best to supply the film with comic relief. Pinkman’s iconic word never popped up till the very end of the film and yet this I found disappointing. After he said this near the end of the film, I was left craving for more vulgarity from Pinkman but nothing transpired. This could also be seen as a positive since it showed Pinkman’s transformation of taking responsibility as an adult.
Regardless, I found the film to be fairly decent overall, despite having no comedy scenes and minor issues on time length. For those that have Netflix, I personally recommend this film, but definitely see the TV series before watching the movie.
Nicholas Bartelmo is a fourth-year student majoring in history. NB790429@wcupa.edu.