Friday, February 19, 2016

Movie review: Better Call Saul

Before Saul was Saul there was Jimmy McGill. Follow along in this "Breaking Bad" prequel as grifter Jimmy transforms into Saul Goodman, eventually opening a strip-mall law office in Albuquerque and aiding a notorious drug kingpin.

Bob Odenkirk (Jimmy), Jonathan Banks (Mike), Michael McKean (Chuck), Michael Mando (Nacho), Rhea Seehorn (Kim), Patrick Fabian (Howard).

Better Call Saul begins well enough with Jimmy practicing law, or trying anyway, along with some time movements that aren't explained well and appear to show him hiding in plain sight. As the series evolves the time jumps continue, and remain somewhat unexplained, but there is some obvious effort put into coherence which is nice. With linked episodes the series is apparently going to build a story with some depth but in the first season really doesn't accomplish much. Instead we have a jumble of stories that reflect Jimmy's transformation into Saul, but without the depth and energy of the original series on which the show is based.

Acting was surprisingly good with Odenkirk actually doing a good job in the lead role. Banks was a great addition to the series, and nice nod to "Breaking Bad", and brings good depth to the storyline. McKean was solid and worked well with Odenkirk, as did Mando and Seehorn. Overall, an enjoyable cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were enjoyable if a bit bland but they fit the series themes well. Action scenes were good with a realistic feel while supporting rather than leading the series. Dialogue was okay but a bit of depth and a dose of logic at times would be nice. Sound and soundtrack were good.

Overall Better Call Saul is enjoyable, and even entertaining. But it is also a bit slow moving, bland at times, and definitely lacking the energy that was found in Breaking Bad. While Saul may have been a fan favorite character in that series, it is yet to be seen if he can carry his own series.

With plenty of foul language, violence, sexuality, nudity, drug use, and who knows what else, this should be fine for older teens and above.

Released: 2015
Reviewed: 2.15.16
Star rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: Crime, Drama, Crime Drama, TV Shows, TV Comedy

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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