I saw a post on Twitter from critic William Bibbiani that had his favorite five movies so far in 2023 and one of them listed was How to Blow Up a Pipeline, a film that I had not heard of before. So when I spotted it on Vudu this weekend, I thought I would check it out.
The independent film from Neon featured a group of environmental activists planned and attempted to blow up a pipeline in protest of the way the pipeline has been affecting the environment.
The film is not just about the act of eco-terrorism, but it also some focus on the characters who were among the crew. It spent a significant amount of time focusing on the individual members investigating the reasons behind their choices.
The ensemble cast do a fine job in bringing these young characters to life in a film that could villainize them. The cast included Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Forrest Goodluck, Jayme Lawson, Sasha Lane, Jake Weary and Marcus Scribner as the main group of conspirers.
What I liked was how the film had the group debating how the world would be looking at them in a different manner, even going as far as labeling themselves terrorists. Still, the motives of the group were varied and many of them understandable.
This film would certainly be controversial as it has had some critics claim that it glorifies the destruction of the pipeline and could inspire others in the real world to take up the same efforts. I would say that this film clearly outlines the situations of the characters and does not try to cover up the acts. It is as much about the characters as it is anything else.
The flashbacks that are sprinkled throughout do a great job of getting us invested in theses characters’ motivations.
I thought this was well done and showed the complexities of actions carried out by even the well meaning indiviuals.