Written and directed by Daniel Goldhaber, How to Blow Up a Pipeline begins with Xochitl (Ariela Barer) slashing the tires of a nearby SUV in order to send a message. Committed to environmental protection, she believes that it is her responsibility to punish those who care little about the planet, especially if the law ignores them. Frustrated and hurt by the damage left by the climate crisis, Xochitl begins to recruit a team of like-minded people who are willing to take matters into their own hands by targeting a West Texas pipeline in an effort to garner some justice.
Set amidst the dry heat of Texas, How to Blow Up a Pipeline is an absolutely gripping thriller about a team of young environmentalists who set out on a mission to save the planet. Brilliantly executed by Goldhaber, Pipeline throws you into the action from the outside and never lets go. Following its characters with a broken narrative style, Goldhaber keeps the emphasis on the moment while also never forgetting the individual journeys that brought them together. As a result, he is able to reveal the motivations of his characters in ways that actually add to the overall storytelling and augmenting the heist itself.
With fire and fury, Goldhaber demonstrates both the personal and environmental urgency of their convictions. Having all been broken by the recklessness of environmental destruction, the emphasis on their stories helps us to empathize with the convictions of each character, giving us the opportunity to support their acts of violence. Their interest lies solely in making the corporate world suffer for their actions without the cost of any human life in the process. In doing so, Goldhaber acknowledges that illegality of their actions yet justifies it as an act of rebellion for the greater good.
How to Blow Up a Pipeline premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.