‘Breaking Bad’s’ Jesse Pinkman returns as the lead in spin-off film, ‘El Camino’

Jennifer Cuevas

Netflix premiered its very anticipated movie, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie” this past Friday, directed by Vince Gilligan. Although, the American drama series “Breaking Bad” ended six years ago, many loyal fans were anticipating the Netflix event.

The movie shines the spotlight on Jesse Pinkman’s (Emmy-winner, Aaron Paul) life after being rescued by his former partner Walter White (Emmy-winner, Bryan Cranston) at the end of the series.

The film shows Jesse as he struggles with PTSD that he developed from being locked up in a cage and the high stress of being caught by the police after his rescue. Jesse seeks the help of his former high school friends Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt L. Jones) who help him get rid of his Chevrolet coupe, El Camino. Once in his new car, Jesse begins the journey to search for the drug money.

Director Vince Gilligan does a complementary job of using the past and the present. The movie includes scenes where Jesse is under Todd Alquist’s (Jesse Plemons) captivity, prior to Todd’s death in the series. The conversations between them then take the viewer back to the present as Jesse continues to search for the money in Todd’s apartment.

Another great addition to the film are the small appearances of major cast members from the series, such as Mike (Jonathan Banks) and Jane (Krysten Ritter) because they added nostalgia. Mike had become part of Heisenberg’s team and Jane was Jesse’s first love. Both characters played a big role in Jesse’s life in the series.

The best part to watch is Jesse’s character development from the series to the film. He is focused only on starting a new life for himself. There are scenes where Jesse could’ve chosen to look for revenge but instead, he is focused on paying the man who offers him a second chance at a new life. Meanwhile, in the series, Jesse was a chronic drug user who created a world of bad decision making.

The film offered some scenes of action but it left me wanting more. My expectations exceeded the action that was included in the movie. I was counting on Walter White also known as Heisenberg, to play a bigger role because he and Jesse made a great team. One of my theories was that Jesse would start his own methamphetamine empire and Heisenberg would still be alive and eventually join him.

A viewer shared his analysis of the film, ‘El Camino.’ Angel Ortiz from Mexico City sees the movie as a part of a bigger picture.  

Now we can see the universe of Vince Gilligan as a trilogy. The series ‘Better Call Saul’ stands as the prequel, “Breaking Bad” the main story and ‘El Camino’ the end to a great story that started more than 10 years ago,” said Ortiz.

Overall, I enjoyed the way Vince Gilligan decided to end the story of Jesse Pinkman. I rate this movie a 4 out of 5. It offers closure, some action and a surprising plot twist at the end. However, I recommend this movie only to fans of “Breaking Bad.” The reason is because of the many references in the movie that simply don’t make sense if you haven’t watched the series.