El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is a final sway song for Jesse Pinkman.
By now, we know that creator Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) deeply cares for his characters and after 6 years we finally get some closure for Jesse’s fate. A satisfying conclusion and a heartfelt tribute to actor Aaron Paul’s character arc. Paul gives an emotional and electrifying performance — a career-best. A bold and slow-burning epilogue that’s layered with justification. 6 years ago, in the Breaking Bad finale we found out the fate of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), but the fate of Jesse Pinkman was left ambiguous to the audience. I, myself, had no problem with Jesse driving off into the sunrise, crying and cheering for his escape. Gilligan could have left the character's fate up in the air, but something was holding on and Gilligan wanted to lay Jesse's fate at rest.
This was no cash grab, El Camino excels with spectacular performances and homage to the original series. Gilligan goes all out in crafting Jesse's redeeming story and pays tribute to a character we so deeply love. The sequel follows Jesse, who is now on the run, as a massive police manhunt for him is in operation. Along the way, we meet some old faces like Badger (Matt Jones), Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), Old Joe (Larry Hankin), and Ed (the late Robert Forster). There are also flashbacks scattered throughout the movie, showing interactions with past characters like Mike (Jonathan Banks), Todd (Jesse Plemons), and of course Heisenberg. Gilligan's neo-western crime thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat, as the suspense surrounding Jesse's future builds.
The direction is on point, as well as the performances. Paul pours his blood, sweat, and tears into this final performance. Gilligan effectively holds the viewer's attention throughout the film, as Jesse runs into conflict along the way. Plemons also shines in the film, proving how awful and conflicted Todd really was. El Camino is energetic and a worthy tribute to the Breaking Bad universe. Distributed by Netflix, I had the pleasure of seeing this film in theaters on opening weekend. El Camino drew 6.5 million total viewers during the first three days and since then, Netflix announced that over 25 million households had seen the film. This is an astonishing achievement for the entire Breaking Bad team and shows just how deeply we care for these characters. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie might be a final sway song for Jesse Pinkman, but he will live in our hearts forever.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is rated TV-MA (This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17).
Directed by Vince Gilligan
Starring Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, Jonathan Banks, Larry Hankin, Krysten Ritter, Bryan Cranston, Scott Shepherd, Scott MacArthur, and the late Robert Forster.
Quick Review: Lucy in the Sky
Lucy in the Sky is one of 2019's biggest filmmaking disasters.
Lucy in the Sky is an unholy mess, to say the least. While actor Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Jackie, Annihilation) gives it her all, sadly; she is suffocated by the film's incoherence. Writer-Director Noah Hawley (known for his critically acclaimed TV shows, Fargo and Legion) tries to hypnotize the audience with flashy camerawork but fails to advance the story productively. The film is "loosely based on the real-life story of disgraced former astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who made headlines when she was arrested in 2007 for the attempted kidnapping of her ex-lover's new girlfriend (the ex was also an astronaut)." Here, Hawley had great ambition and some pretty strong material to work with but instead, we get a muddled storyline caught between the cosmos. The editing was choppy and the tacked-on thriller nonsense loses our focus from our main character's (Portman) point-of-view.
Lucy in the Sky wastes its talented actors (Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, and Dan Stevens) and dwells on flashy filmmaking. Hawley could have chosen to look at how female astronauts survive in NASA's male-dominated field, rather than a stereotypical plot point of how women are unable to handle their 'emotions'. Retired astronaut Marsha Ivins criticized the premise of the plot and denied that there is such a thing as a "longstanding idea that says astronauts begin to lose their grip on reality after being in space for an extended period of time". The breaking point is how long will audiences sit until they are unable to comprehend any more of this film's shenanigans. A misbegotten mess that will leave viewers frustrated with its anticlimactic space conclusion. In the end, Hawley's directorial debut should have never taken flight. Here's to hoping Lucy in the Sky becomes lost in space.
Lucy in the Sky is rated R (Restricted). For language and some sexual content.
Directed by Noah Hawley
Wasted talents of great actors: Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, and Dan Stevens.
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