The first episode of “Breaking Bad” was aired on January 20, 2008. In July of 2013, I found myself attending two panels and one press conference with Bryan Cranston (for “Breaking Bad” and “Godzilla”) — it was the Fan Girl love at first encounter.
I sacrificed sleep and exercise to catch up on “Breaking Bad.” I watched my first episode two months before the finale on September 29, 2013. Two friends later joined me in cramming the show four weeks in. We all got so involved that we didn’t know what to do with our lives after that last show aired. For me, “Breaking Bad” is still the best TV series I’ve watched, from start to finish.
Here we are six years later, and show creator Vince Gilligan gives us the full length feature “El Camino,” which is currently out on Netflix (it will also hit cinemas in the US). “El Camino” refers to the car Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) takes as he escapes from the headquarters of his white supremacist captors, the ones enslaving him to keep cooking meth.
“El Camino” is very good and very well written film, but unfortunately, it won’t mean as much to someone who has not seen “Breaking Bad.” And even if you’ve seen “Breaking Bad,” a refresher is highly encouraged before watching this. I wished this was released a year after.
As expected, great performances are all-around with some sad, tender moments too. Aaron Paul really brings us this young man constantly beaten down and threatened, someone who’s lost and stands to lose whatever “meaningful” relationships he’s had. Jessie sometimes behaves trapped or abused, but there’s still that one remaining ounce of fight to try and get out.
The flashback scenes are excellent. Jesse Plemons (who has gone on to bigger projects after this years’ Oscar nominated “Vice” and the highly anticipated “Irishman”) is disturbingly good as the creepily disconnected and evil Todd. Of course, Walter White Bryan Cranston gets a flashback scene too — we needed that. We also see the late Robert Forster aka Ed Galbraith (not “Hajji’s Quick Vanish”) in his final film. He passed away October 11, the day “El Camino” was released.
I can’t help but think the Jim White song “Static on the Radio” is perfect for the closing credits. He sings along with Aimee Mann: “Cause I know (dreams are for those who are asleep in bed) / And I know (it’s a sin putting words in the mouths of the dead) / Cause I know (for all my ruminations I can’t change a thing /Still I hope (there’s others out there who are listening).
“El Camino” and “Breaking Bad” are available on Netflix.