How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Give it up for the people trying to save the world from the polluting assholes!

I apologize to the environmentalists for driving a car to work, but if there’s one thing I want is a teleportation device, so I can travel to places instantaneously without any flying or driving vehicles. But for now, I’m stuck with traffic and delays of any kind. I can however collect rainwater for my mother’s potted plants to save up on some water. I know it’s not much, but I’m doing my best.

That’s me talking to the characters who have to blow up in oil refinery pipeline in the thriller “How to Blow Up a Pipeline.” There are professionals and lessons in developing homemade bombs and how to get away from the crime, or at least inspire others to try to save the world.

Xochitl (Airela Barer, who also wrote the script) has lost her mother to climate change, and her friend Theo (Sasha Lane from “American Honey”) has developed leukemia as a result of living near an oil refinery. They both devise a plan to blow up an oil pipeline in West Texas, and they enlist their friends, who are also a team of professionals.

There’s Michael (Forrest Goodluck from “The Revenant”), who gets in fights with workers, while his mother (Irene Bedard) wishes he could join her conservancy. In the meantime, he makes videos about making makeshift bombs. His demolition talents soon get discovered.

There’s also Dwayne (Jake Weary from “It Follows”), a family man, who has to deal with the pipeline on his property.

Next, Alisha (Jayme Lawson from “The Woman King” and “The Batman”), her girlfriend, who tries to talk some sense into Theo about her illegal activities.

Then, there’s Shawn (Marcus Scribner from “Black-ish”), who shares Xochitl’s concerns.

And finally, there’s both Logan (Lukas Gage) and Rowan (Kristine Froseth), lovers and criminals, who know how to play certain games. Games I’d rather not say for the sake of Spoiler Alerts.

In other cases, besides blowing up a pipeline, these kinds of people (I don’t want to call them “terrorists”) can damage cars and boats, and leave notes explaining why. They’re trying to get the message out to conglomerate businessmen that their goods are damaging the environment. “How to Blow up a Pipeline” cares so much about these environmentalists, that NEON opens with a message about how it respects the land of the indigenous people. We should respect their lands with or without this movie.

I may not be able to grab everything in the story, but I was still able to see its true colors, and be at the edge of my seat. This is the kind of thriller that doesn’t require CGI effects or commercialism, but rather a sense of purpose regarding political and social affairs. And you need the right actors-some haven’t become household names yet, but have won other groups over-to pull off such characters who aren’t murderers (because there’s a scene when two of them decide to save some workers from being blown up), but are human beings who refuse to fly to Mars. They want to take care of Earth.

Director Daniel Goldhaber (“Cam”) and his fellow co-writers (Airela Barer and Jordan Sjol) all adapt Andreas Malm’s book with enough dangers and complications to make “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” a ride worth taking. A ride that doesn’t emit CO2 in the air.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Now Playing in Select Theaters

Categories: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Western

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: