The Diplomat, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, and writers strike
Bombs abroad and bombs away, plus let's go WGA!
On this week’s episode of Criticism Is Dead, we discuss The Diplomat and How to Blow Up a Pipeline, a series and a film about political maneuvering — whether from the backroom or from on the ground.
02:59 Netflix’s The Diplomat, a soapy and snappy political and marital thriller, is tailor-made for fans of The West Wing and Keri Russell.
It’s about time Keri Russell was back in the spotlight (and not just for Cocaine Bear). In The Diplomat, she plays another strong, hyper-capable woman whose career and marriage are… complicated, to say the least. The series is a bit silly in its political shenanigans, at times, but it’s also fast-paced, appropriately wry, and smoldering with palpable chemistry between [redacted] and [redacted]. Ultimately, the show is about careerism and love: What happens when one spouse gets the spotlight more than the other? How do they handle it? And can they look this good doing it?
22:54 How to Blow Up a Pipeline, available in theaters/VOD, could use a touch more texture in its too-neat package, but is nevertheless affecting — almost radical, even.
This film takes the ethos of Andreas Malm’s nonfiction book — that property destruction is what the crisis of climate change demands — and transforms it into a heist film with a bold-enough suggestion of a call to action. There are some things about How to Blow Up a Pipeline that could have used more care, like the psychology and motivations of the characters (beyond the somewhat easy backstories that the film supplies), but it still delivers a boom most deeply felt in the aftermath in the dark theater.
40:37 Plus, shout out to the striking writers!
We are a pro-labor podcast!
Don’t miss our special series following Succession’s fourth and final season! This week: episode 7 “Tailgate Party.”
Some miscellaneous reading that I’ve finally gotten around to:
Finally, after returning from just being OFF, we are OFF once again next week (we all have different vacation needs). Never fear — SUCCESSION SENDOFF will continue, as usual!
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