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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

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When Breaking Bad, among the most groundbreaking and beloved TV shows this side of The Sopranos, drew to a close in 2013, showrunner Vince Gilligan did his utmost to deliver a finale that was every bit as calculated and thought-provoking as the hours of entertainment that preceded it. There was perhaps only one truly unanswered question: What happened to Jesse Pinkman, the perpetually unlucky right-hand man to meth kingpin Walter White?

Last seen roaring to freedom in a Chevy El Camino after months of captivity and psychological torture, El Camino tells us how exactly how a man as damaged as Pinkman can find peace in a world he left and simply cannot return to.

Aaron Paul settles back into the role of Pinkman after a six-year hiatus with a quiet and understated performance that more than benefits from a passionate and long-term relationship between Paul and the character. The film is, in typical Gilligan fashion, an aesthetic knockout. Not one shot feels uninspired, nor one song on the soundtrack jarring or mismatched.

However, the greatest shortcoming of El Camino can be found in its visuals. Dramatic angles, movements and wides often linger just long enough to draw undue attention to themselves, and to the somewhat sparse screenplay that allows for such moments of gaudiness.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of El Camino is its refusal to lose itself in the mythology of its precursor. This is not a film that exists to revel in the cultural impact of Breaking Bad, nor is it one that exists for fan service. It's a film that sought to provide a more definitive conclusion for the only loose end left untied at the end of the show.

Jesse Pinkman was a broken man when we last saw him on our screens, but El Camino seeks to show us exactly how he can pick up the pieces of an unfortunate life.

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