A Political Activist Makes A Small but Vital Mistake in ‘Sans Plomb’

Sans Plomb provides a cautionary tale of sort, which shows the danger of letting emotions act without having all the information.

In the modern world, politics has become a point of contention in every day life. Among some of the most common topics of debate is the environment, and the causes or reality of climate change. People can’t seem to agree if climate change is real, if humans are to blame for it, and if anything can be done to stop it. As debates heat up and people become more and more attached to their beliefs and opposed to any information to the contrary, many times these debates become less driven by information and more driven by emotion, sometimes to the point of fanaticism.

Such is the case in Sans Plomb, in which a man breaks into a petroleum office and forces workers to print a message on their window, in response for the crimes against humanity he feels that they’ve committed.

Depending on the political leanings of the viewer, this man could be viewed as either a hero or a terrorist, or a bit of both. However, regardless of how the viewer feels about the man and his actions, one thing is not up for debate: the man targeted the wrong people. About halfway into the film, the man finds out that the group he has targeted is not the group he thought they were, and is not responsible nor are they in any way affiliated with the crimes for which he is seeking retribution.

What’s interesting about Sans Plomb is the way that it presents such a political action with virtually no bias. The film takes no stance on whether or not the man’s actions or morally commendable or not, but rather presents them simply as something that he did. Similarly, by leaving his motives relatively vague, the people he is targeting, or least the people he thinks he is targeting, are also presented with relatively no bias. This film does not set out to say that more people or less people should act in the way that the leading man does here, it simply presents the events as they are.

Another interesting interesting feature of the film is the way it presents a rather serious event in a comedic way. While a man going through with terrorist actions is most certainly a serious subject, as soon as it is revealed the the man has targeted the wrong group, the film gains a comedic edge. While it doesn’t lose the seriousness inherent to a man with gun taking hostages, it also doesn’t shy away from the inherent comedy of a man taking his beliefs to such an extreme extent while being so mistaken in who deserves his anger.

And therein lies the most interesting feature, and in my opinion the most important message of the film. By not painting the man as either a hero or villain, Sans Plomb presents a message that people on either side of the political spectrum can learn from. While the man’s heart may or may not be in the right place, he acted out of unchecked emotion rather than rationality, and in doing so destroyed any political message he may have sent. While not everybody can relate to the specific situation that the man has created for himself, in the modern world of bitter political fights, it is easy to relate to trying to cling to a political belief, even when the situation is not exactly what we thought it was.

Overall, Sans Plomb is an entertaining and comedic take on a quite serious situation that has become too common in today’s world. The film also presents an important message for people on either and any side of a political argument to hear.

Dan Levitan

Dan is an undergrad student at Binghamton University, with a major in creative writing and a minor in cinema. He is also an amateur magician and comic book enthusiast. You can usually find him watching a movie, at fencing practice, or taking a nap.

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