Sans Plomb is one of those short films that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat, never sure of what is coming next, despite it being based on a true story. We open following behind our protagonist as he enters into an office building. Once in the lift with him, he has a real sense of urgency and nervous energy, though his intentions aren’t clear to us yet. Then, suddenly, he leaves us in the lift only to return seconds later brandishing a gun and three hostages.
Director Emmanuel Tenenbaum treats the camera as if it is another character in the short. Instead of using it solely as a vehicle to tell his story, the camera, and therefore the viewer, is transformed into an innocent bystander roped into the chaos of the scene. To make this work, the entire seven minute short is done in a single take. As the action unfolds, the camera turns to each character, looking around the room as any normal person would, which draws us further into the situation.
As our environmental activist protagonist, played by a thoroughly convincing Vincent Pelletier, discovers that he’s taken the wrong company hostage, you can actually see his mental downward spiral as he struggles to try to connect the video game company to the petroleum company he so desperately wants to take down. As the police close in, the shift in power dynamics is huge and tangible. This is capitalised on in one final message from one of the hostages as she leaves, taking pity on the gunman: “Good Luck.”