El Camino – A Breaking Bad Movie


Viewed – 11 October 2019. Netflix

I don’t really know what I was expecting from a movie continuation of arguably one of the best TV shows ever made. Breaking Bad had one of the more satisfying endings, and so was there really anything left to explore?

Focusing on what happened next when it comes to the character of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) seemed the obvious answer, as we explore just where he was driving off to after being freed by his captors by series lead Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Whilst keeping one step ahead of the law, he turns to old buddies Badger and Skinny Pete. So yeah, we get several returning faces, mostly during a number of reminiscing scenes that surprisingly make up for a good portion of the runtime … meaning that there really isn’t much going on here other than getting from point A to point B. Paul is very good and layered as Jesse and despite his circumstances still manages to reveal a few of those fun Jesse characteristics that made his character so memorable in the show.

I’d have liked a bit more ‘life and death’ stakes to his situation but that barely comes across and I always felt Jesse was going to be fine. Which took away some of the drama. Also scenes of flashbacks and smaller moments are dragged out just to celebrate the show rather than offering any really service to the plot.

Not a revelation then, and can’t touch some of the bigger moments of the show but as a swan song to a beloved character this was precisely what it needed to be and nothing more.

Verdict: 3 /5

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Breaking bad-habits


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I’ve waited until now to post about what has arguably become one of the most talked about and celebrated TV shows in history.  Yes Vince Gilligan’s award winning Breaking Bad.  Last night I finished watching the final season, and came away so shaken, impressed and wowed at the shows excellence that I really felt I had been witness to a major landmark in television entertainment.

I will try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible as I think this is a show that really needs to be enjoyed to the max, without knowing what lies ahead, and is another reason I have waited this long to talk about it.  Brian Cranston, previously best known as the dad in Malcolm In The Middle, plays a chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer.  Fearing for his family’s financial future, including a disabled son and a pregnant wife, he plots a scheme to get involved in the crystal-meth cooking business with a helping hand from former student Jessie (Aaron Paul).  For me I considered this a strange concept for a show and not one I could have foreseen being so popular – I mean really, the main character is a drug dealer (of sorts).  Yet in the hands of Brain Cranston he makes a morally dubious and sometimes downright awful person likable … and you are there every step of the way as he faces up against rival drug barons, his own brother-in-law DEA agent (the wonderful Dean Norris) as well as his own family woes.

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First and foremost despite an unusual premise, what holds this all together are a wealth of first class performances, especially from Cranston and Paul who excel in their roles and believe me go through the full gamut of emotions and obstacles throughout the  series … these guys really earn their pay cheques.  Cranston especially breaking out of his sitcom routes to become one of the most iconic and memorable characters, nicknamed Heisenberg and with a bald head and goatee that will truly go down in history.  I really can’t praise this show enough.  Gilligan’s direction (and the various other names who step in, including Cranston himself) all deliver a show full of style, quirks, often clever camera work, great music choices and plenty of tension – with a fair bit of comic-relief too.  This is a black comedy at times, but also hard-hitting, violent and disturbing – in a good way that hits home and lingers in one’s mind.  The kind of show you just have to talk about afterwards.

Another feather to its cap are some of the supporting characters, the lovable but deadly hit man Mike (everyone’s favourite eighties villain Jonathan Banks – Beverly Hills Cop anyone?) and most notably Giancalo Esposito’s Gustavo Fring – who really stamps his evil presence from the show’s 3rd season onwards.

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My American readers may have already seen this show and moved on, some may wonder what all the fuss is about – as did I … but after reading many (often celebrity) recommendations, I got curious and thanks to Netflix have been able to enjoy this show in it’s entirety.  It hasn’t been treated the best by British TV networks, being a complete no show on terrestrial television or even satellite service Sky – something that totally baffles me to this day … maybe that will change some time soon, even now the show is done … because it really deserves the widest audience possible. 

TV programmes come along like this very rarely … so don’t let it slip you by.