Review: How to Blow Up a Pipeline


Runtime: 103 minutes

Director: Daniel Goldhaber

Writers: Daniel Goldhaber, Ariela Barer, Jordan Sjol, Andreas Malm (based on the book by)

Actors: Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner, Jake Weary

By Rosa Parra

Holy moly! “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” has been one of the most suspenseful and anxiety-inducing films I’ve seen in a while. Directed and co-written by Daniel Goldhaber, this film follows a group of environmental activists who plan and carry out the mission to blow up a pipeline. It stars Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner and Jake Weary

Independently of how some may feel about the subject matter, this story is told in a concise and perfectly paced manner. Examining corporate greed and its direct consequence on the environment is bound to prompt conversations about environmental ethics and its potential outcome if corporations continue to ruin the planet. This may be a radical approach from environmental activists, but one worth entertaining. There are times when being peaceful and nonviolent will get you nowhere. There are times when extreme measures are the only option to be heard. After all, time is precious, especially for people directly affected by the toxic environment left behind by big corporations. 

Each activist in this group has a motive and reason to participate. Whether their reasoning is justified is a topic for another conversation, but the film takes time to provide a back story and/or the journey of each individual in between their mission which adds a layer of complexity. Because it’s told effectively and non-judgmentally, it adds a suspenseful feel to it. The acting is great and this ensemble rocks!

The score and sound editing amplifies the suspense and magnifies the tense moments. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that whenever there’s an explosive device in the making, there’s always the risk of it detonating at the most inopportune time. The stakes are high. And I respected its similar level of suspension with the bombs to what’s occurring with the planet right now. It feels that the bomb symbolizes the planet that with any wrong ingredient, bad timing, and poor connection (in the bomb), it’ll explode. Not groundbreaking but I commend its ambition, the story it told, and the format. 

Overall, “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” is a thought-provoking look at the extent some activists may resort when they’re pushed against the wall with limited reactionary options. A thrilling action heist drama worth seeking out. 


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