El Camino (2019)
based on the show Breaking Bad created by Vince Gilligan
written and directed by Vince Gilligan
There is no doubt that Breaking Bad (2008-2013) was a great TV series. And there is no doubt that its prequel, Better Call Saul, is shaping up to be as great as its predecessor (it will end its run in 2021). So it seemed strange to me when the creator of both series, Vince Gilligan, decided to make a film sequel to Breaking Bad detailing what happened to Jesse (Aaron Paul) immediately after the finale. Because if you’ve seen Breaking Bad, you know that the final shot of Jesse – driving away from the white supremacists’ compound and free at last from the influence of his former teacher/drug kingpin Walt (Bryan Cranston) – was already perfect. Did anyone really care what happened next?
As I watched El Camino, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the whole thing was designed as a cash grab. Sure, it’s impeccably made, and it gives fans of the series more of what Gilligan thinks they want: Stylized desert vistas, tense shootouts, and cameos by Cranston as Walt, Jonathan Banks (Mike), and Krysten Ritter (Jane). But it all feels rather empty and forced. Personally, I’d rather keep thinking of Jesse’s original moment of victory, laughing and crying as he speeds into the unknown.
Carlos I. Cuevas