How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Pro eco-terrorism heist movie

This movie rocks – it’s a great, efficient heist movie with a bunch of young actors I haven’t seen before. Based on a non-fiction book of the same name, the movie describes what might happen if a bunch of people put the message from that book into practice.

Skip the trailer, it doesn’t do it any favors. Rentable from these places: How to Blow Up a Pipeline streaming: watch online

From the rogerebert.com review:

Two of the more apparent influences are Michael Mann’s “Thief,” which opens with a heist in progress, and William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer,” a remake of the classic French thriller “The Wages of Fear” about four men from wildly divergent backgrounds who come together to drive a truckload of dynamite over a rickety wooden bridge to help extinguish an oil well fire. Both movies, perhaps not coincidentally, have a score by Tangerine Dream, which for a while had a lock on scoring modern thrillers about desperate people pushed to the edge. This film is Tangerine Dreamy from start to finish. Style, story, and politics elegantly intertwine.

Yeah, this was awesome. Dwayne and Michael were particular standouts for me, though the entire group was great. I totally see the Sorcerer inspiration as well.

Watched this yesterday, and I think it’s an impressive piece of work. Particularly in editing, which I think makes up for a few missteps in the script itself (“I need to get into this valve station, but some oil workers just showed up. I’ll slash their tires to they can’t leave!”). There’s something early-Spielbergian about this movie, to my eyes.

Where the script does succeed is in conveying what all these characters are about very economically. Helps that the performances are all super-solid. All the actors were new to me, though I gather they aren’t quite as unknown as I thought at first.

I think a more developed film could have said something more profound about the issues at stake, but as a thriller with an ensemble of strong characters, this works really nicely.

(This is on HULU, by the way.)

I liked this also. I read a lot of Edward Abbey in my youth and am very much an environmentalist so I was pretty sure i would like this. Gets me kind of pumped up to get more involved.

If y’all liked this, you should check out the director’s horror movie from a few years ago called Cam. Daniel Goldhaber co-wrote and directed a fiendishly clever script about a cam girl, and lead actress Madeline Brewer does a fantastic job carrying the movie. Heartily recommended!

According to Justwatch, it’s currently only available on Netflix.

Saw this today, loved it.

Saw this today. It was great. And it ended right when it needed to. Super efficient.

I liked the flashback cuts. My favorite is right near the end, the flashback ends with talk about not leaving any evidence behind…house explodes.

I agree the oil workers at the valve station is probably the most silly part of the movie. Also the guy draws a gun and immediately starts blasting away…wtf.

One other thing that I was thinking while watching was, was this suppose to take place in a near-future? It’s hard to tell because there isn’t any new tech. On the contrary the girl uses an old flip phone to report to the FBI. But there is some world-building. Long Beach is some kind of polluted shithole where people die from heat and chemical-induced cancer, and there’s some kind of divestment movement to fight the megacorps or someshit.

I mean, they were in Texas, so I think it wasn’t too out of character.

So this is as good a place as any to confirm my suspicion that Wages of Fear does not, in fact, hold up.

The weird French homo-social relationship, the Hollywood starlet/director’s wife playing the wild serving girl, the clunky portrayal of Americans, and the staging of some of the set pieces is so conspicuously dated (although I’d forgotten about the last truck mired in the rising lake of oil!). Not to mention one of the lead performance! I watched the whole thing thinking Yves Montand was the older character because it never occurred to me an actor famous enough for me to have heard of would be that bad. Montand in this early role was godawful! Check out this “acting”:

He probably didn’t do any of that silliness in Jean de Florette!

However, Charles Vanel as the older character grappling with cowardice was pretty riveting for his dramatic arc. I guess it makes sense that French cinema would still be grappling with issues of cowardice and duty in the mid-50s.

Of course, as far as I’m concerned, the real stars of the movie didn’t get enough screentime:

It will take Friedkin to really luxuriate in the relentless mechanical prowess of these wheeled beasts. In Wages of Fear, they’re just trucks. I will say that Wages of Fear does a great job in its own quaintly 50s way of establishing South American squalor. I actually think the movie loses most of its steam once it drives away in the trucks.

So, not as good as the passable – IMO – How to Blow Up a Pipeline unless you’re watching it as a historical curiosity, and certainly not able to hold a candle to Friedkin’s gritty 70s remake.