It has been six years since the finale of Breaking Bad aired. Since then, fans of the show have had time to both romanticize the series while forgetting some of the things that made the show a success. El Camino is a callback to many of those things that both kept fans coming back for more and frustrating us simultaneously.
We left Jesse Pinkman driving away into the unknown in the car of the title. El Camino aims to fill in those unanswered questions previously only entertained by our imagination. We see his maturity on full display here, as opposed to his childish mindset from the shows origins. He’s desperate here, gone is the goofy laid back stoner replaced with a man whose only objectives are to evade capture and sign a new lease on life.
Even with those new priorities, Jesse still seems to make questionable decisions in crucial moments. I found myself scolding him for reactions to situations that while disappointing was true to his character. He wasn’t the smartest guy in the room, and that was evident. He was, however, the boldest who showed absolutely no remorse for the things he had to do in the conquest for his freedom. If we are keeping the character honest, I do remember many of the same moments during the course of the series with blood pressure high and expectations low.
Multiple doses of nostalgia were distributed with cameos from returning characters of the series. Seeing Jesses’ parents, Skinny and Badger, Old Joe, Mike, Todd, and Ed Galbraith made me want to rewatch the series for more of their on-screen presence. They reprise their roles in a way that truly emphasizes that the world of Breaking Bad did not die with Walter White.
The film was shot reminiscent of the series original style, and that often brought forth some of the most compelling scenes in a uniquely odd way. This became a staple of the show and is duplicated perfectly in the film. It ties this film into the series universe effortlessly, and the events that transpire are more believable because of it.
El Camino delivers in everything it sets out to do, and while the story of the film can be frustrating at times, that is deservedly so if we are to be true to the source material. The characters remain true to their behaviors established in the series and the film shines because of it.