“How to Blow Up a Pipeline” hit theaters this week, and there’s no nuance in its title.
It’s approximately 100 R-rated minutes on destroying a Texas pipeline in the name of environmental activism, social justice, stickin’ it to the Man, and other cool stuff.
While heist stories always have been popular, there’s long been the moral snag of getting audiences to root for the bad guys or at least the people seen breaking the law.
Indeed, Hollywood once had the self-imposed Hays Code that, among other things, required criminals, no matter how intriguing their story, to always meet a bad ending, generally either through the legal system or in death, including by their own hand.
Sometimes, storytellers have gotten around ethical qualms by having criminals do things ultimately for some kind of perceived good, as in Robin Hood robbing the rich to give to the poor.
That’s the way “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” gets around the whole terrorism thing. It hoists its would-be moral flag on protection of the environment.
Check out the trailer.
Since most movies are aimed at younger people, “Pipeline” has a sleek, youthful cast single-minded in its quest for justice.
Of course, no one’s going to be influenced by the movie’s message, especially young people. After all, it’s merely a session of entertainment escapism enhanced by over-priced popcorn.
It’s just that I have a recollection of long-ago college days when a friend told me about watching a crime-glorifying movie, then leaving the small-town theater to engage in some random acts of vandalism.
But it’s a different era; we’re more sophisticated now. Lessons in developing explosives and in pipeline destruction would prompt no interest from young people. Nor authorities.
After all, the FBI is busy with monitoring parents upset with school boards and with words on the internet such as “red pill,” or posted names like “Chad” or “Stacey” representing people popular with the opposite sex, unlike “incels,” the self-described involuntary celibates the FBI also is concerned about.
Pipelines, schmipelines – who cares?
“Pipeline” so far has an overwhelmingly positive 97 percent Tomatometer rating at the Rotten Tomatoes movie review site. As of this writing, audience reviews numbered only about 50 but were at a very positive 78 percent (60 percent is considered good).
Perhaps the state of our culture can be gleaned from what top critics are saying about the film.
“’How to Blow Up a Pipeline’ might not offer a blueprint for explosive solutions, but it could spark some ideas,” wrote Lovia Gyarkye of the Hollywood Reporter.
“Each member of this ratpack clan represents a distinct background ensures that what unites them is not allegiance to a singular political or spiritual ideology, but rather the notion of a shared enemy: those willing to see the planet burn for a profit,” said Carlos Aguilar of the Los Angeles Times.
“You won’t be able to resist the siren song of this film as it breaks and molds you into an activist with a firm and riveting grip,” wrote Lex Briscuso of Inverse.
Then there are some comments beneath the YouTube presentation of the movie’s trailer:
“I hope the film is effective in helping us move towards the clean energy transition as soon as possible.”
“Finally a film about radical environmental protest that pulls no punches.”
“This type of thrilling and encouraging information dissemination is ESSENTIAL in capturing the hearts and minds of our youth to help us win the war in Ukraine, and for Mother Earth. Peace.”
And so it goes. One more step in the destruction of a civilization.
Maybe a sequel to “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” will focus on the electrical grid. Or on water systems.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.