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El Camino First Reviews: A Cinematic Gift to Breaking Bad Fans

Aaron Paul's reunion with writer-director Vince Gilligan -- and some familiar faces -- is a wholly satisfying epilogue that reminds us why the groundbreaking series was so good.

by | October 11, 2019 | Comments

What Will Happen to Jesse in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie?

What’s in store for Jesse Pinkman? And will we see Walter White? We explore everything the brand new trailer tells us about El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Posted by The Rotten Tomatoes Channel on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Six years after Jesse Pinkman drove off into the New Mexico night, Aaron Paul returns to reprise the role that made him a star in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. We last saw Pinkman breaking free from Jack’s (Michael Bowen) Nazi compound. He was held prisoner by the group with the sole purpose of creating Heisenberg’s signature meth until Walter White (Bryan Cranston) mowed the clan down with a semi-automatic weapon attached to the trunk of his car, liberating Jesse in the process.

Vince Gilligan decided a proper send-off was in order for White’s former protégé, penning the script and stepping behind the camera to direct the final leg in Pinkman’s emotional journey. But is El Camino a necessary story to add to Gilligan’s Breaking Bad universe? That depends on who you talk to.

Die-hard fans will surely relish in the cameos that pop up during the movie’s two-hour running time. We already knew Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matthew Lee Jones) would make an appearance, but some of the other characters who make appearances will probably keep people talking.

This type of fan service may not please every viewer who watches the sequel — whether they choose to tune in to Netflix or head out to watch the movie on the big screen on opening weekend. But this is a Vince Gilligan joint, so obviously there’s going to be more to El Camino than these juicy aesthetic tidbits.

Here’s what critics are saying about El Camino: A Breaking Bad Film:


El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie keyart, Aaron Paul stars (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

IS AARON PAUL’S PERFORMANCE WORTHY OF ANOTHER EMMY?

Paul earned three Emmys for his supporting role on Breaking Bad, and in El Camino he delivers a mesmerizing lead performance that proves he deserves a spot on Hollywood’s A-list.
– Judy Berman, Time

Paul impressively juggles multiple eras of Pinkmania: “Yeah, bitch!”-ing meth student, wuvvy romantic, wrecking ball of soul-scabbed vengeance.
– Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

Aaron Paul is fantastic in his return to his most famous role.
– Nick Harley, Den of Geek

He’s again great here, capturing the push-and-pull of trauma and need within Jesse.
– Brian Tallerico, Roger Ebert

And as ever, Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman is one of the most tragic, moving, emotional performances on television.
– Linda Holmes, NPR



WHAT ABOUT VINCE GILLIGAN’S RETURN AS WRITER AND DIRECTOR?

Gilligan remains a precise and complicated visual stylist.
– Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator and the film’s director and writer, makes use of a presumably robust budget and of the fact that El Camino will be exhibited on some big screens with some genuinely gorgeous shot making.
– Daniel D’addario, Variety

Gilligan – who reprises his own role as writer and director – has always been good at keeping his audience on their toes.
– Paul MacInnes, The Guardian


El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie SEASON A Netflix Television Event PHOTO CREDIT Ben Rothstein/Netflix PICTURED Aaron Paul COPYRIGHT © 2019 Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

IS THERE MORE HERE THAN NOSTALGIC FAN SERVICE?

Breaking Bad fans won’t be disappointed if they’re feeling sentimental and nostalgic for the good old Bad days.
– Michael Starr, New York Post

El Camino is fan service executed at a very high level.
– Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

Old friends are trotted out for special appearances like Love Boat guest stars.
– Jason Bailey, The Playlist

El Camino is a mostly tension-free traipse around the show’s old haunts and a few of the surviving characters.
– Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

It’s likely to delight fans who’ve yearned to return to a memorable time and place.
– Matt Roush, TV Insider

Breaking Bad was already an ice cream sundae. Simply think of El Camino as the cherry on top.
– Adam Graham, Detroit News


IS IT EVEN NECESSARY?

El Camino didn’t need to exist – but for fans who craved extra Jesse Pinkman in their lives, it hits the spot.
– Ed Power, The Daily Telegraph

El Camino mainly just fills space, and likely time – something Breaking Bad never did.
– Dominic Patton, Deadline

El Camino provides a way to return to the world of Breaking Bad even if it’s not quite up to the level of the TV series.
– Matt Goldberg, Collider

Where El Camino struggles is in the nagging sense that it has no business being two hours long, because there’s not nearly enough reason to expand a fairly brief, tense adventure into feature length.
– Josh Spiegel, SlashFilm

Massively enjoyable wrap to the Jesse Pinkman story, and better still, the right one.
– Verne Gay, Newsday


El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie launches on Friday, October 11 on Netflix.

#1
Adjusted Score: 95.802%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining if not essential, El Camino adds a satisfying belated coda to the Breaking Bad story -- led by a career-best performance from Aaron Paul.
Synopsis: The Netflix Television Event EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul). In the... [More]
Directed By: Vince Gilligan

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