How to Blow up a Pipeline by Daniel Goldhaber [8/10]

How to Blow up a Pipeline is not for everyone but it was written for me, given that I had read, absorbed, and partially appreciated Andreas Malm’s 2021 theoretical eco-terrorist debate book, How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire. Malm’s book is supremely academic; he argues that climate change is so globally existential, and so dependent upon immorality on the part of, notably, fossil fuel companies, that property destruction might be morally defensible or even necessary, if only to rally a more reasonable activist polity. Now, in this film, director and co-writer Daniel Goldhaber has created an old-fashioned heist caper in which a dozen or so direct-action activists, barely known to each other, plot to explode a hefty Texan pipe. The plot is surprisingly clever, cinching up the tension while shuffling through the combatants’ back-stories, and reserving a couple of minor plot twists to the end. The intricacies of assembling and deploying an amateur explosive are lovingly caressed by the camera, and the disparate characters are well cast and played and unfolded. How to Blow up a Pipeline is not for those with utter disdain for the central premise, but if you can entertain flexibility concerning the good guys and the bad guys, it is a tense, intriguing hour and a half.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *