Thursday, June 22, 2023


How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2022) - Goldhaber how-to-blow-up-a-pipeline-film We really did a terrible job safeguarding our environment. We are way passed the point of no return for major ecological disasters and this is going to be our legacy to our youth. And they obviously have reasons to be pissed off at us, the government, the world. Every time I talk with anyone younger than 30, their number one concern, without hesitation, is the environment.

I'm not saying that this so called ecoterrorism is new. There were Green Peace saboteurs before our generation; we had ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and have seen our friend Daniel McGowan off to jail for arson of the lumber company. But How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a renewed warcry from a generation that went through so much in so little time in the last two decades where everything seems to be accelerating toward the what seems to be now inevitable oblivion. The gig economy is not providing them any security or benefits (as the film touches on the subject). Forget about the culture wars or 'voting matters' slogan, in our mainstream discourse. They don't give two shits about any of those. The world will soon be totally uninhabitable, definitely in their lifetime. This is existential threat of today. It's the topic that they lose sleep over.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is an angry propaganda disguised as an eco-thriller. With complex flashbacks structure, the film tells a group of conscientious young people deeply dissatisfied with the state of the world. Their definition of 'doing good for the world' is not volunteering at some soup kitchen. Incrementalism is not the solution. They'd rather move toward the path of a direct sabotage. All the paticipants of the deeds of the film title are personally affected, in one way or another, by the environmental destruction near where they live; their family member died because they live close to a chemical plant, get cancer because harmful air and water they breath and drink, get kicked out of their lands by developers, their land ceased by gov for digging oil wells, etc. They find each other online and by mutuals to form a group, like, in a heist movie. Daniel Goldhaber along with his writing partner producer Jordan Sjol (Cam) and Ariela Barer (who plays Xochitl in the film) writes a lean but urgent and angry script, devoid of sentimentality.

Xochitl (Barer) who lost her family to illness due to living near the chemical plant, comes back to Southern California after dropping out of college, disillusioned by non-urgent state of college protest scene. She reconnects with her best friend Theo (Sasha Lane) is dying of leukemia from the harmful chemicals, and her girlfriend Alisha (Jayme Lawson). She also hooks up with a like minded college friend, Shawn (Marcus Scribner), who agrees with her that the act of sabotage - violent actions of property damage (but without any loss of life), are necessary to shock the system. They contact a reclusive, angry young man Michael (Forrest Goodluck), living in a reservation, who posts 'how to' videos of homemade bombs on the internet. They also recruits Dwayne (Jake Weary), a family man, who lost their family plot in Western Texas to imminent domain for digging oil rigs. Then their is a druggy Seattle couple who may or may not be informants for the FBI. With these young characters, the film shows what unites them, across cultural and racial divide, is the anger that fuels their desire for direct action beyond protests, petitions or boycotts. The shrewd

They find their targets in Western Texas - one underground pipeline and the other above. The coordinated attacks will paralize the supply of the oil getting distributed across the state lines and cause economical damages to the company. A major disruption will be the goal.

The matter of fact presentation of bomb making and careful planning are the meat of the film. How to Blow Up a Pipeline plays out like a great little thriller. Their meticulous plan hit a snag when the rope holding the heavy barrel containing the bomb breaks, but despite the setback, they carry out the attack. The twist at the end is well earned as well. How to Blow Up the Pipeline is a compelling film. It is a justifiably angry film for the generation out of time and out of options.

No comments:

Post a Comment