"To Put Things Right"
What You Need To Know:
EL CAMINO has some of the old BREAKING BAD magic. There’s compelling drama and comedy, great acting, and excellent cinematography. However, it switches erratically from the past and present at lightning speed while moving toward the future at a snail’s pace. Jesse’s new quest to start over and “put things right” has a redemptive tone, but EL CAMINO otherwise presents a humanist, morally relative worldview, with excessive violence, plenty of drug use, strong foul language, drug use, and some lewd dialogue.
EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE is a continuation of drug criminal Jesse Pinkman’s life after the BREAKING BAD television series came to a conclusion six years ago. The movie follows the former kingpin of the methylene drug empire after his escape from being imprisoned by the reigning Neo-Nazi meth drug lords. Led by Uncle Jack, the Neo-Nazi group imprisoned Jesse to cook “meth” for them and their little drug empire. The movie flashes back to several scenes of Jesse’s captivity where he was kept in a cage and severely tortured. The physical captivity and torture are only part of the problem. The mental and emotional abuse carried out by his primary caretaker, a psychopath named Todd, helps viewers understand how Jesse, a one-time high energy and quite likable drug lord, is completely broken. Todd shoots Jesse’s girlfriend, Andrea, and forces Jesse to watch. He makes it crystal clear that, if Jesse tries to escape, he will kill Andrea’s 6-year-old son, Brock.
El CAMINO replays Jesse’s epic escape after his former partner, Walt White, breaks into the area and shoots Jesse’s captors with a machine gun. Jesse kills Todd. Walt is left to die while Jesse drives away in an epic scene where Jesse seemingly tries to scream his way back into sanity.
Dodging the authorities, Jesse shows up at the home of Badger and Skinny Pete. Badger and Skinny Pete banter in a nostalgic, typically humorous way as they play video games when they hear a knock at the door. Jesse is so damaged, he’s almost beyond recognition. The two buddies help Jesse clean up and offer him enough support so he can make his way toward freedom.
The friends devise a plan to make the authorities believe Jesse is heading toward Mexico. In reality, Jesse stays and makes his way to his captor, Todd’s, apartment. The movie takes viewers to a flashback to when Todd carelessly strangles his cleaning lady with his belt and forces Jesse to bury her body. Annoyed that a apartment manager watches nearby, Todd decides the two should wait an hour to leave his home with the dead body.
In the same room where the murder victim is rolled up in a carpet, Todd slurps up soup for lunch after he explains that his victim was a “real nice lady” who happened to find stacks of cash he had hidden. The flashback reveals that Todd will move the money to another place in the apartment. In the present, Jesse sees that his only chance of escape is to find the money Todd hid.
As soon the money is found, Jesse is interrupted by two men posing as police officers. The fake police officers overtake Jesse and go after the cash. Jesse cleverly makes off with a third of the cash. Before he takes off, Jesse recognizes one of the fake police officers as the guy who built his chains and was complicit with his torture and captivity.
Jesse makes off with his cash to pay the “Dis-appearer” to give him a new identity. However, he’s still $1,800 short. Jesse goes back to the men holding the other two thirds of the cash to simply “ask” for the rest of the money. Sick, twisted and on drugs, the old enemy challenges him to a game that will end Jesse’s life or enable him to find a new identity.
EL CAMINO has some well-crafted moments with great cinematography and acting. The showdowns and the notion of rooting for a criminal definitely give viewers the nostalgic feel of a Western. EL CAMINO also captures some of the magic that made BREAKING BAD so well liked, such as some funny comic moments during otherwise dark scenes. There are some touching moments where viewers witness Jesse Pinkman struggling to be a better person. His conscience bothers him. He doesn’t want to kill anybody. Jesse confides in Mike that he wants to “put things right.” The movie also cleverly poses the moral question of whether or not Jesse has paid for his crimes. The quest for a fresh start and a desire to live a better life almost makes viewers forget that Jesse was once a murderer and the meth kingpin who pumped out 200 pounds of meth a week for Walt, destroying countless lives.
However, despite Jesse trying to redeem himself, the movie EK CAMINO presents a humanist worldview full of moral relativism. El CAMINO also contains excessive violence, drug use, strong foul language, and some lewd dialogue. The combination is excessive and ultimately unacceptable.