How To Blow Up A Pipeline is an anxiety-fueled eco-terrorist thriller that captures an intense and understandable rage towards corporations responsible for harming the planet with their practices. Based on a novel of the same name written by Andreas Malm, the film captures the anger and resentment that’s fueled by many in our country in terms of how our land is treated and how that adversely affects Native Americans, farmers, and everyday citizens who don’t have the means to move away from harmful industrial zones. Whether it’s air pollution or being pushed off your land because the government wants to run a more convenient pipeline through it, there are real people affected by their environments in awful ways all in the name of profits.
Following a group of strangers who’ve united over their shared disdain for major oil and gas companies, How To Blow Up A Pipeline looks at numerous walks of life in our country and zeroes in on the areas and people who are often overlooked, especially by the media. Filmed as if they were shooting on actual film, the graininess and grittiness of the cinematography really helps emphasize how desolate some of these places have become because of these small towns becoming home to refineries. Paired with a kinetic score that keeps you on the edge of your seat, the sight and sound fully immerse you in this insane mission to disrupt an oil pipeline and part of the economy.
In our age of endless information and surveillance, putting together a secret operation to destroy property is no easy task and you don’t want to leave anything to chance in terms of who could be listening to your communications. There’s a grassroot feel to how this group all connect and the separate jobs they’re supposed to cover before eventually meeting at an undisclosed location. Utilizing the power of YouTube and online science, this crew goes as far as creating their own bombs and powders to completely stay offline and keep themselves off anyone’s radar. The bomb making alone makes for a fascinating and extremely tense few minutes as you can imagine yourself just following along with some video hoping that you don’t screw things up, and that’s only a fraction of the overall stress you’ll feel during their escapades.
How To Blow Up A Pipeline taps into enough emotion to help the audience get on board with their plan and it really does showcase how screwed up things can be in our country when it comes to putting profits and convenience over the people who live somewhere. There’s an abundance of metaphors that can be linked to what we did to the Natives when taking their homes and still today we threaten to run pipelines through the little protected land they still have. It’s frustrating and completely disheartening to see how communities are affected by different oil and gas projects and it feels like sometimes the only way to make them understand is to combat their efforts with a show of power. Violence is always the first approach humans take when seeking revenge, but here, the best place you can hurt a corporation is their wallet. What results is one of the more brilliant movies of 2023 and a riveting experience that will certainly challenge your own eco/climate sensibilities.
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