El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie ★★★

As a disclaimer, I've never seen Breaking Bad. I've not seen a single episode. I know very little about it as a whole, I know the general premise, and I already had the ending semi-spoiled. And while many of you may think "why the fuck would you watch this when you haven't seen Breaking Bad" and while that's true, it's obviously designed for Breaking Bad fans, if you're making a movie, years after the original series ended, it should in some way stand on its own as a film in its own right.

Take Logan for example, I've barely seen any X-men or Wolverine films and had no strong attachment to the character, and yet I felt the same strong emotional attachment as people who grew up with the character.

And in the same spirit, I saw Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 as my first Harry Potter film (not by choice, mind you) So I know how it ends, I know all the big twists and turns and resolutions, and yet I don't feel like the rest of them are ruined for me. I could work my way through watching them for the first time and I don't feel knowing the resolution hampers the experience.


So, with all this in mind, I went into this movie hearing great things from people across Letterboxd, and I went in with the perspective of 'how much of this praise is just fan service and how much is based on the actual quality of the movie as a whole' and 'is this an actual seperate contained story' and in the end... it's a mix of both.


Now I will say, there were parts I was confused on. I needed to turn to messaging someone who'd seen the show to get some context on a couple things, but mostly I feel like I got it. It is very much designed to just be like an epilogue to what was, from my understanding, a pretty open ended conclusion and it doesn't really fill you in on much. You gather some of his situation through flashbacks and a couple of expositiony news broadcasts, but other than that it just doesn't care about filling you in which in a sense, it's right in doing so. 


However, there's a certain point to where it leans a bit upon having to know these characters to get a kick out of this. There's an extended flashback featuring a character (who I won't spoil, but I'll say I recognised the actor and got hyped) who if you aren't really aware of the background, you don't get the impact they want from him showing up. And that whole flashback sequence doesn't feel fully nessisary to the plot, other than being kinda fun and bringing these 2 characters together.


The movie itself didn't do a lot for me in terms of caring about Jesse. Like I understood him fine, he had motivation, he had clear character traits that evoked some answers for me as to what he's gone through as a character, but I was never really engaged with him, I didn't feel the weight of his struggles or fully get behind him. Again, I understand that this is probably cause I'm void of some context, but even still it feels reliant on caring about the character from the get go, rather than taking the character any further or have him go through any kind of growth from the start of this movie.


I will say though, even though I think this movie doesn't do a great job standalone, I did enjoy it overall. The direction, the cinematography, the editing, it's all grade A. The music was pretty great, it was fairly well written, Aaron Paul gave a decent performance, as did *actors name I want to say but don't want to spoil for potential Breaking Bad fans* who lit up the screen when he showed up for 20 minutes. There's a tense, contained scene halfway through that was pretty thrilling.


But I ultimately didn't feel that this movie works that well as a self-contained story, which it absolutely could function as while still bringing finality to the character and show. I fully get that I may have simply 'watched it wrong' but I cant give any greater perspective other than my own. I can't really argue against people giving it 9-10/10 ratings cause with those 53 hours of characterisation, it may read a lot differently, but for me it was a pretty ok thriller about a guy running around a serious of locations doin shit for 2 hours.


I'm very aware I may be roasted alive for this review, but so be it

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