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Movie Review

El Camino: “Not many of us get a chance to start fresh”



The feature length film, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, rolls out as a long episode of the show, telling the escape story of Jesse Pinkman from his former self.

!!!Spoiler alert!!!

Back in 2013, when the last episode of the show Breaking Bad premiered, we saw the guy Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) screaming on top of his lungs in an El Camino as he finally managed his escape from the literal hole he was kept in by the neo-Nazis. That alone was a satisfying moment as the beloved loyal anti-hero got his freedom back. Now, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, picks up the story exactly where it left off. This time the escape is from the trauma and consequences of his naivete.

The movie unfolds as he stands with a former acquaintance, whose identity I won’t be spoiling here. Their conversation ends on a symbolic note where they take upon “The last Frontier, Alaska” as the ideal place to start fresh. The movie pretty much revolves around Jesse venturing into his memories and planning his next move to get there. Time and again he is haunted by the shadows of his time under the captivity of Todd and the nazis. Through the movie he holds on to the slightest of the possibility of his new life. The kid that followed Mr. White’s every decision, now reflects on his inaction and idiocy back then while trying hard to survive every step now. With all the Albuquerque police on the chase he carefully assess the situation and acts as a man who has nothing more to lose.

The movie reverberates through cameos of different characters. The second trailer flashed the old friends of Jesse, Badger and skinny Pete were the first one to have him knocking on their doors. Apparently they were the only humans who he thought were on his side and they didn’t let him down as he was their “hero and shit.” However the first trailer went all in as a 1 min spinoff to the movie; for the cuts of the trailer isn’t even in the movie.  The movie has appearances of other key characters from the original show. As I had watched the full show years ago, the movie felt much closer and relevant but that doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t work as a standalone story.

Whatsoever the case, the one thing the movie does and does perfectly is giving Jesse Pinkman a clouser he deserved. The funky kid who liked the philosophy of “going where the universe takes you” probably understands the metaphor in it now. The last 48 hrs of Jesse in New Mexico as shown by Vince Gilligan’s direction is spot on for me. The hints of his new life is all over the flashbacks while the consequences of his old one is what he is trying to escape from. Ending with him in Alaska as a new man, his “goodbye letter” to his ex-girlfriend’s son made us realise that he indeed can not make things “right”. Although the letter also shines on the fact that we still can apologise for our actions and move on with a fresh start.

Satisfying at its core, the movie is, expectedly, done justice by the amazing play from Aaron Paul. The two hours of screen time feels complete and overall the movie leaves with the relish of the show.

We are all just an arbitrary constant looking for a value that fits the equation of our life. Guess I will find one someday.


Movie Review: Cha Maya Chapakkai

Cha Maya Chapakkai is a movie to be rated 4/5 considering the facts and factors mentioned below.



Comic timing toward political innuendo takes plot atop

Entering in a movie theater with a mindset that the film could be a dud can backlash, as watchers can witness more of negatives aspects, eventually ruining their investment and time.  The best way to do it is, watch till the end, and don’t set any mindset for better results yield.

This week’s release ‘Cha Maya Chapakkai,’ scared the hell out of the production team, as can be seen from their Facebook status & posts, as they were perpetually alleging some people playing games on their back to ruin the movie by spreading negativity. What made them scare so much? Either the movie was mediocre, or the movie fraternity was against them for some vested interests. Nevertheless, hard work pays off, which is likely to happen as most of the theaters got thronged with people on day one.  Thanks to the publicity in both ways—pro and con.  Also, the enthusiasm in theater staffs, most probably working on a commission basis, proves that they sensed post Dashain bonus which may help to clear their festival dues.

The days to follow and the box office results will have the verdict, as the initial prediction could be just a tip of the iceberg.

Let’s divulge the name, why didn’t they cash on the Chakka Panja franchise? Did they take a big risk? If this is the risk, then it is its worth. People well getting obnoxious with the self declared Raja character that Deepak Raj Giri was portraying, who was shrewd, and clever, if not cunning, and was entwined with the legacy to cut loose on financial and social matters. Nevertheless, other side characters are more or less the same as shown in terms of their dialogue delivery, and acting. The production team’s astrological values looked like to have guided them to put the term 6 (cha) in their venture, but in this case, there was not any relevance of this name in the plot, rather some solid name even without 6 would have made the movie name sound relevant, and not make them not sound overtly superstitious.

Another question is why Deepa Shree Niroula did not direct this movie with back-to-back success in her previous projects? Who knows, she could have directed the movie better than the incumbent. Also there was a special appearance room for her at the final scene with Magene Budo, where again she was ditched. This question is easy to ask, but could be hard to answer because the production banner also shows her name, full fledged. The plot is interwoven on the backdrops of two villages—one with water resource abundance, and the other with its paucity. And how political indifferences with vested interest can hamper the commoners is the conflict. What makes a good political leader—the principle, dogmas they follow or, their caliber to solve problems of people to quality of life? These questions are definitely answered with a tinge of love, romance, which antagonists try to use as honey trap that eventually backfires, ending the story in a super happy mood. Almost all the dialogues are superb and natural as they use the body language, complex vocabularies, complicated idioms & phrases alike our top-notch political leaders, and the good part is, they are not mimicked. There is no question what so ever about acting, as the characters fit in their roles perfectly, leaving no room for error and improvement.

Nothing is perfect in the world, neither the movie is. As the movie does not fall under slapstick category, so the maintenance of verisimilitude becomes essential and eminent. Some scenes are slacked, as when Jeetu Nepal is shown mulling over to crash on the marriage ceremony to elope with the bride with scores of people attending the function. And the very next scene, he is running with her hand-on-hand, leaving audience scratch their head in anguish. Cinematography is good with proper use of wide, short, close up shots, and not using excess drones shots add to the glitters. Talking about the background score, at times they relied on the classic revolutionary song from nineties, ‘Gaun Gaun Bata Utha’ which is fitting; however, with only one romantic song, they still could have worked on a revolutionary song and used it for background score too. With people complaining, not having enough songs, this would have really done a world of good to the movie, as the sequence for this song was well set in the second half when the full blooded revolution on high.

The movie is inspired from the true incidents as shown in the initial credits, so there is no question about the conflict, and the introduction part is also taken care with nice narration, so as story telling stands at its best, but the conclusion which I think has been improvised—as for a movie it needs a little fabrication has lacked as characters are shown changing their mind so easily—which does not look too practical as they were presented bold and stubborn throughout. Unlike its first half, which was flowing nicely, the second half is little sluggish, and predictable, as per the standards. Another point, the team should consider in their forthcoming projects, which they have been repeating time and again is to follow basic traffic etiquettes. Yes, in emergency cases, it is understandable to ride double pillion on a bike, but if the riders are made to use helmets, that can add realistic touch and also avoid cautionary note of ‘follow traffic rules’ on lower right of the screen. Heroes look better in capes and also in helmets, while riding motorbikes.

The movie is well recommended for political, apolitical and nonpolitical. Having said that, for a developing country, which has been witnessing mammoth political changes every decade, it is hard to say, who is nonpolitical, so it is recommended for all. It could be best for the people who feel pride of themselves, just by claiming to have not known the name of president and prime minster, as they don’t like politics. This is the second venture of team where they have mingled politics with farce. The first one— Wada No. 6 too revolves around this theme. On that case, they were skeptical, so they hid the theme by not portraying any political affiliation in the trailer. In this project, with the previous success for which they harvested accolades, they were confident to highlight politics as one of the themes, as they have clearly shown flags of political parities fluttering nice and high in the trailer.

All in all, go watch it. The phenomenal comic timings on a sensitive subject will pay off for your time. Definitely, try to pick the ones in your circle, who say, they don’t like politics, and they will get the answer why did not they like it, and also they will get answers for their political innuendoes.

This review is by Mahendra P Joshi.  He is the writer of internationally well-received book, Rocking Rolling Rolpa.  His book has been placed in Hollywood Database.  Mr. Joshi occasionally likes to review books and movies.  He had previously worked for The Himalayan Times.  

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