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How to Blow Up A Pipeline

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
4 Star popcorn reviewss


It is still a Tuesday and I am playing catch up with some of the releases that I had missed out on over the previous few weeks. With that, I finished watching the new English film How To Blow Up A Pipeline which had premiered at TIFF last year. Much has been said about the environment already but are we even serious about it? It is just baffling on how every year we start cursing the weather about it being either too extreme or far too unpredictable without reflecting on our actions towards it. It was during the twin lockdowns in the pandemic that we actually saw nature healing itself, only to have returned back to square one, once human beings found their way outside home. With trees being cut and oil spills being a regular norm, we may not be far from doom’s day! Based on the theme of the environment, I happened to watch the thriller How To Blow Up A Pipeline. Is it worth your time, lets find out!

Story & Screenplay

Based on a novel by the same name, How To Blow Up A Pipeline follows the story of a group of environmental activists who take on a daring mission to blow up an oil pipeline as a mark of dissent and protest. Are they successful? The story here is very relevant with undertones of the exploitation of the environment, packaged in a compelling thriller. The screenplay standing at just about a 100 minutes makes for a taut and a tense watch.

The drama is designed to unfold in a non-linear pattern. So after the opening chaotic sequence, briefly introducing every character who is going about his task of sabotaging the oil pipeline, there are frequent flashbacks pertaining to every character. The drama doesn’t give you much of a context and the picture only begins to get clear with every flashback related to every character. The character motivations are clear and this type of a stop gap narrative was rather interesting to witness. These flashbacks run upto the last minute of the drama that makes for a refreshing watch.

The proceedings are tense and engrossing wherein the events unfold like an Ocean’s Eleven film with a theme of the environment. The scenes involving planning are engaging with the rugged tone in the drama being maintained right throughout. The obstacles that are prevalent during the execution of the blast does add to the tension in the drama. The drama was literally on a knife edge when the execution was underway. This, while the character motivations through a series of flashbacks continued to unfold. The drama in many ways is also a metaphor on the impact that human intervention can have when it comes to the environment. And in turn, how it is ultimately the humans who are suffering at the end of the day.

The subtle twists and turns in the screenplay was interesting and it did keep me on my toes. My only issue with the film was its messaging which was skewed. How justifiable is it to sabotage and blast off a pipeline and in the process take law into your own hands? While exploiting the environment is wrong, this ain’t completely right too! As they say, two wrongs don’t make a right! But if I strictly have to take the drama into account, it was compelling and it did end on a rather satisfying note too although the final act could have been further fleshed out. Overall, the screenplay is extremely well written and makes for a rather good watch.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational but the lines leave a solid impact. The BGM with the sounds of machinery to compliment the drama was quite brilliant to watch. The cinematography is just brilliant with some great frames capturing the sabotage and the ultimate blast. The editing is sharp as well. Director Daniel Goldhaber does a spectacular job in keeping things taut which in turn did engage the viewers. The direction was quite impressive here.


The performances are excellent here. Kristine Froseth as Rowan and Lukas Gage as Logan have their moments to shine. Forrest Goodluck as Michael, Jayme Lawson as Alisha and Sasha Lane as Theo are just fabulous to watch. Marcus Scribner as Shawn and Jake Weary as Dwayne are excellent in their roles. Ariela Barer as Xochitl is brilliant and quite assertive in her performance.


How To Blow Up A Pipeline is a compelling environmental thriller with good performances that makes for a brilliantly tense watch. Highly Recommended!

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