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Release Date: 04/07/23 [In Cinemas]
Genre: Crime. Drama. Thriller.

Studio: NEON

"A crew of environmental activists plot a daring plan to disrupt an oil pipeline." 


Coming off of his debut Cam, one of the smarter films in the cyber-horror genre, Daniel Goldhaber comes back swinging with the daring eco-crime thriller How To Blow Up a Pipeline. This film follows a group of environmental activists who plot to destroy an oil Pipeline in West Texas that is damaging their quality of life. While Gildhaber's directing does deliver some exhilarating sequences during this film, How To Blow Up A Pipeline's structure makes the film a more frustrating experience than an exciting one as I found myself feeling too emotionally distant from our characters as the film went on.


Goldhaber's political edge is very much felt in both of his features. As Cam talked about the stigmatization around sex work, this film creates a conversation about climate activism. Asking questions hard questions - is it too late to save our planet? What do we have to do to save it? Is the only way to save it through violent means? They are hard hitting and scary questions, but it's with these questions that the film is able to raise some incredible stakes within the story and already has the viewer reflecting on the struggle with climate change we face in the real world - which this film really isn't that far divorced from. It's the backbone of the film that makes the eco-crime sequences actually quite thrilling and delivers a good amount of white knuckled intensity.


However, How To Blow Up a Pipeline, falls short due to a frustrating structure that honestly does the character work a disservice. The activist group we follow on the film is filled with some great talent, the biggest name here possibly being Sasha Lane - some of these characters have interesting struggles in the face of this ever growing climate crisis. Other characters are written so flat and one-note, and it at times feels like this ensemble is a bit too big for the film's own good. Not to mention the scripts non-linear structure which attempts to bring us closer to the characters, but ends up just drifting us further apart from them. Certain things get revealed throughout, and sadly when things come to fruition, it all feels like some of the structure works entirely against the film's character development.


How to Blow Up a Pipeline ends up being a fun and exhilarating eco-crime thriller, yes, but it does come with quite a few caveats. With a cast that's too big for its own good and a structure that weirdly works against itself, I can't help but walk away from this film feeling quite mixed. I really do admire how Goldhaber is adding to his form, I just wish there was more attention applied where it was needed.

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