How El Camino Re-Frames Your Perspective on Jesse Pinkman

As moviemaker Thomas Flight explains in his visual essay “How El Camino Frames Jesse Pinkman,” the new Breaking Bad movie faced the challenge of how to quickly shift our perspective on Walter White’s iconic sidekick.

As Flight explains in his voiceover, El Camino “elevates Jesse Pinkman from his position as iconic supporting character in Breaking Bad to leading man.” His video explains the moviemaking techniques used to make us see the world from Jesse’s perspective. (Watch the full video above.)

Vince Gilligan’s writing and directing do much of the work, but so does director of photography Marshall Adams, who worked on the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul and the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, “Live Free or Die.”

Also read: Why the Setting of El Camino‘s Opening Scene Looks So Familiar

El Camino uses several skillful techniques, Flight explains. For one thing, it changes the Breaking Bad aspect ratio to a wider frame, which allows Jesse (Aaron Paul) to appear at the edges of shots where he is not the main focus. He never leaves our sight, or our thoughts, for very long.

The film also keeps the emphasis on Jesse with decisions about depth of field, framing, composition, and blocking.

Also read: Why Vince Gilligan Stays Focused on the Corner of Holly and Arroz in El Camino

El Camino also plays clever games with framing to make us think of Jesse even during shots in which he doesn’t appear.

Flight also discusses other cinematic techniques within El Camino, including its effective use of cross-cuts. We’d encourage you to watch the full video, which illustrates Flight’s points more effectively than mere words can.

Flight has made many video essays filled with valuable lessons for moviemakers, including his series on the first films of directors Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick, and the Coen Brothers. We recommend that you watch Thomas Flight’s videos on YouTube.

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