El Camino: Jesse Pinkman’s Last Journey

The long awaited Breaking Bad film is finally out on Netflix and fans can have their ultimate closure on Jesse Pinkman’s fate (and not only…), with no more need to fantasize about what happened to him. Does the film written and directed by creator Vince Gilligan lives up to the expectations and the Breaking Bad finale, aired 6 years ago? (SPOILERS AHEAD!)

There we go. El Camino has finally been released from Netflix, and as a big Breaking Bad fan I was dying to watch what would have happened to Jesse, after his escape during the last episode of the show. People have been literally excruciating themselves during all these years on Jesse’s fate, wondering what would have been with his life after all that he had to go through. Even though the final episode gave some satisfying closure letting you know that he finally broke free from chains, there was something undoubtedly missing from what felt like an open-ending. Indeed, it was an open-ending, considering that Vince Gilligan decided to come back to give Jesse the ending he deserved and he did, in complete Breaking Bad style. Just like Felina, the final episode of the show, the film doesn’t have any big moments of sort, no big shocks or unpredictable situations. It is what it is, an ending, an ending that maybe could have been more than what it is.

Through cameos, flashbacks and goodbyes, Jesse finally accomplishes his desire to live a quiet life in a world without Walter White, the man who turned his life upside down multiple times (yes, we have the confirmation that Walter is, indeed, dead). Since the start of the film the audience can feel this sense of farewell that breathes out from every scene of the film, starting from the first flashback that give us the real, final goodbye between Jesse and Mike, just right before he was leaving for Alaska. Then, the last meeting with his long-time friends Skinny Pete and Badger that, no matter what happened in the past, help him without a second thought, showing us that real friendship lasts through thick and thin. The many flashbacks in the film feel no more than a simple way to let the fans have one last chance to see their favorite characters on screen, as they add nothing to the story, like Mike’s flashback, or the long flashback with Todd (the most despicable guy you’d ever meet, probably) that it doesn’t show us anything new. Jesse is broken, and he was already broken at the end of Breaking Bad, so the whole flashback with Todd feels unnecessary and just an expedient to make the film last longer than a series episode.

Jesse’s ending is no different from what already happened before to Walt or Saul: through a search quest for money and a bloody ending Jesse starts fresh in Alaska, after paying “the guy” who owns a vacuum cleaner shop that as a second job helps people disappear and start new lives. Yet again, the last two flashbacks have the only goal to give fans what they wanted: first, a brief and inconclusive reunion between Jesse and Walter and then the return of Kirsten Ritter as Jane. Like any other flashback in the film the both of them could have just been left out, as they add nothing to what we already knew before or to what is going on in the film. It is quite disappointing that in the end the film feels like a huge Easter egg with the only goal of giving die-hard fans one last shot at Breaking Bad. It is a shame moreover if we consider that the film shines for acting and directing, with an Aaron Paul that really put an effort to give his last goodbye to a character that he evidently loves and with the same camera works that we all know so well from the show. Before the release, Vince stated that the film could have been watched from everyone and not just the fans that watched the series: unfortunately, that’s not the case, as it is literally impossible to watch this as a standalone film. The melancholic feelings, Aaron Paul performance and some good shots are the only elements that save the film from being a lame attempt to bring back a loved show, once again. They say that people learn their lessons from the past, but apparently this never happens when it comes to this subject…

Final score 5.5/10

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