April 10, 2023

SCREEN | 'How to Blow Up A Pipeline' Sabotages x TIFF 2022

"You're an orphan now. It's like origin story sh*t."
Jayme Lawson Sasha Lane Daniel Goldhaber | How to Blow Up A Pipeline | TIFF 2022
Toronto International Film Festival
How to Blow Up A Pipeline, directed by indie filmmaker Daniel Goldhaber, adapts Swedish academic Andreas Malm's non-fiction climate activist book about ecological sabotage into a gripping contemporary heist thriller. Set in the vast oil fields of West Texas, the film's radical message of driving active change through destruction and property damage frames an intriguing narrative hook of justifiable eco-terrorism for the greater good to save humanity from ourselves.

Starring Ariela Barer (also a producer and co-screenwriter), Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, and Marcus Scribner as a diverse team of young environmental activists with various motives who are committed to combating climate change, the group of otherwise misfits band together to prevent the development of a pipeline by resorting to building their own sophisticated homemade bomb to "blow up a pipeline" as the title lays out.

Adapted for the page by Barer, Goldhaber, and Jordan Sjol, how the Pipeline filmmakers create compelling fictional characters with little in the way of introductions but clear identifiable motivations. The film deliberately unfolds each of the person's individual backstories at precisely the right times to maximize narrative impact in an impressively thrilling fashion as inspired by the structure of Reservoir Dogs. Furthermore, it resists the urge to lionize the characters as any sort of altruism or idealism. They are all conflicted and weigh the morality of their actions as they eschew heroism attached to their aims of change.

Goldhaber's expertly-paced docudrama style of capturing the anxiety-inducing tension of the heist genre elements of his would-be indie crime drama tells a timely story of desperate youth enacting destructive change while minimizing collateral damage yet sending a strong message against a corrupt corporate system.

How to Blow Up A Pipeline premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Platform program. It also screened at the VIFF Centre.

More | YVArcade / Moveable Fest / Slashfilm

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