It’s been six years since we said goodbye to Jesse Pinkman, the guilt-ridden, meth-dealing anti-hero of the hit series “Breaking Bad.” Last we saw of Jesse, he and his partner-in-crime Walter White seemed to make amends before taking down the show’s final villains. Pinkman was last seen smiling and laughing as he drove away, leaving his life of crime behind him as he headed towards a new life.
Well, not quite.
Jesse Pinkman’s story picks up immediately after the ending events of “Breaking Bad” with Pinkman on the run from authorities as he tries to set up a new life from himself. We didn’t need a follow-up film to Jesse’s story, but being able to see what exactly this character has been up to is a nice touch from writer/director Vince Gilligan — the creator of “Breaking Bad." For a series as brilliant and riveting as “Breaking Bad,” Netflix’s film “El Camino” is surprisingly dull.
While Jesse is without a doubt one of the greatest TV characters in recent years, his story didn’t need to be continued at the length featured. It feels nice to know what happened to him after the show ended, but the actual execution of his continued story does nothing for us as an audience and fails to make a predictable story entertaining. There isn’t a single moment in the film that captures our emotions and for a plot revolving around running from the police and hiding, not one second is captivating.
The film fails to remind us why we loved Jesse in the first place, relying solely on telling a situation rather than expressing a human drama. It’s never clear what Jesse is feeling or what his true motivations are at this stage in his story. Within the first act of the film, it becomes clear that this film was made just for the sake of being made and had no concrete direction in mind. We’re forced to sit through long sequences of flashbacks that not only express nothing new about Jesse, but don’t seem to be entirely relevant to the story.
Diehard “Breaking Bad” fans should still see the film to form their own opinions, and I think most will be moderately pleased at what they find in “El Camino.” They just won’t be getting anything special and won’t have it stick with them in the same way “Breaking Bad” did.
Final Grade: C-
Dominic LeRose is a staff writer for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.