Skip to main content

No results found

HANBOROUGH GATE OX 1100x120 BANNER unezql
Culture, Film

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Does this secret-shrouded sequel add anything to the series?

divider
James Pike
el camino a breaking bad movie a8acvo

From almost out of nowhere a trailer for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was released in August, depicting the continuation of Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) journey in the Breaking Bad universe. Filmed under a thick veil of secrecy, does El Camino add anything new to an already perfect ending to a perfect series?

Breaking Bad is not the first TV series to have a continuation through the medium of film, The X-Files, Firefly and Twin Peaks (to name a few) have all had film incarnations that contribute to their respective universes. These don’t always work as well as they should, with the transition to better cinematography/effects, feeling obligated as opposed to cohesive, whilst they also wholeheartedly rely on their loyal fanbase to know the lore beforehand. Unless you were hiding under a rock between 2008 and 2013, you will all be aware of Breaking Bad’s brilliance – if you are part of the minority, I urge you to make this your next series to binge. Following directly from the final episode ‘Felina’ we follow Pinkman as he attempts to evade the full force of the Albuquerque Police Force and start a new life. Part redemption, part revenge but mostly catharsis, El Camino (although not essential) is a mostly satisfying footnote to one of the series most beloved characters.

Aaron Paul brings one of his most mature and assured performances (this side of the TV series) and proves that he has the acting chops to make a seriously compelling lead actor. Despite being six years since he revisited the character he clearly understands Pinkman’s motivations and emotional beats – Paul pretty much picks up where he left off, looks included. I won’t spoil things for you but there are some recurring characters from the series that, despite them being welcome, feel more like fan-service than anything necessarily pivotal to El Camino’s story with the exception of Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) who is on fine psychological form. For me, this is (and should be) all about Pinkman, the character who grated on us in series one as the pseudo-urban gangster, and over the course of Breaking Bad’s run, melted our hearts as we watched Walter White (Bryan Cranston) mentally and physically break him down to the sombre, self-assured man we see in El Camino.

Vince Gilligan (series creator) returns to write and direct, showing a deft-hand at capturing the desolate New Mexico landscape and some innovative camera work when it comes to showing time-lapses – just in case you forgot that this is a film. Gilligan’s dialogue and scene structuring is as tense as ever, often resembling the tone and pace of a classic Western, but never reaches the dizzying heights of Breaking Bad’s more memorable moments. El Camino works best as an extended episode or an ‘event’ series rather than a film (despite having a limited theatrical run) and falls into the many trappings TV series face when transferring to film. Nowadays, as TV series can boast bigger productions, cinematic visuals and some of the best acting out there, the difference is minimal and less impactful when on film.

If you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, or have no intention to (shame on you), there is nothing El Camino has to offer you. El Camino relies upon your love for Pinkman and the ordeals he has suffered to reach this point in his character’s arc. It certainly works as a series epilogue, you just might find yourself asking, ‘Was it necessary?’

RECOMMENDED

Stephen Bailey   HI RES Tour Main Image 2020 John Oakley 3 pnojwh
Tue 21 Jan 2020

Stephen Bailey

Love, Lawyers and Lactose Intolerance

“I love Eamonn and Ruth,” Stephen Bailey says from a London coffee shop. With a pastel de nata on the go, he tells me he’s meeting with Eamonn later. I ask about the appeal

RhysJames Snitch KeyVisual2 3 i6htf7
Tue 21 Jan 2020

Rhys James

Quite Silly, Slightly Raging

Having just moved house, stand-up Rhys James’ weekend “was made up of unpacking things from boxes and building furniture”. Having overdone it Friday night, OX editor Sam Bennett’s

THE RED SHOES. Ashley Shaw Victoria Page . Photo by Johan Persson 3 vsizbx
Tue 31 Dec 2019

Principal ballet dancer Ashley Shaw returns this year to the role of Vickie Page in Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes. We spoke to Ashley to discuss the show and the ways which

Stephen Emmer 2017 01 Andreas Terlaak uzxwgs
Tue 31 Dec 2019

Stephen Emmer

From Bach to Wilroy

Dutch composer, arranger and artist Stephen Emmer has been busy collaborating with Canadian artist Wilroy, remixing tracks from his award-winning album Home Ground, originally released in 2017