Eco-warrior film offers a satisfying Big Oil ass-kicking
How to Blow Up a Pipeline
Where: In theatres
What: Movie, 103 mins.
Rating: NNN (out of 5)
Why you should watch: Watch Big Oil get their asses handed to them by a group of idealistic young people.
NOT QUITE AS EXPLOSIVE as its title, How to Blow Up a Pipeline is unapologetically a film about how to blow up a pipeline. But, as such, it spends more time planning than actually blowing stuff up, which does not make for a fast-paced film.
Basically, a rag-tag collection of folk with a variety of experiences and motivations come together to plot to blow up a fossil fuel pipeline in Texas to which they object.
Using a collection of largely unknown actors, the film successfully depicts the scope of personalities (and why they are there) that can come together in a progressive political movement. From a young, straight couple full of political passion and horny as fuck from the thrill of it all to a terminal cancer patient determined for revenge on the polluters who poisoned her and some more-seasoned and grizzled political veterans, their efforts to carry out their revolutionary act are rife with controversy, chaos, amateur-missteps and good intentions.
Since people sitting in their hideouts endlessly planning can be kind of boring, the filmmakers wisely use flashbacks for most of the characters to explain what led them to become eco-warriors.
Depending on how you feel about direct political action, the film will see you standing up and cheering or sitting quietly shaking your head, muttering “Ruh oh” at the virtual manifesto that closes the movie. There’s no soft peddling the mission of this film: How to Blow Up a Pipeline is an explicit call to direct action at a time when old answers have led us to the climate change calamity we are facing.
Is it great filmmaking? Not especially, with many of the actors offering largely one-dimensional versions of their characters. But, if sitting around waiting for the planet to boil is getting you down, watching a group of committed, mostly young people kicking Big Oil’s ass is kind of satisfying.