The brutal legacy of the Algerian war forms the heart of filmmaker Florent Emilio Siri's stark period drama concerning a young French soldier confronted by the horrors of war. Lieutenant Terrien (Benoît Magimel) has been dispatched to one of the most remote regions of Algeria to replace an officer who was killed in a recent skirmish. But this war is much more complicated than Lieutenant Terrien ever anticipated, and before long he is forced to confront a World War II French Army veteran willing to kill the soldiers with whom he once served in order to secure the independence of his birthplace. When the fellaghas (Algerian national fighters) massacre an entire village in retaliation for a visit from the French, Lieutenant Terrien vows to remain calm and professional despite the unspeakable horrors that greet him with each passing day. On the other side of the coin is battle-hardened Sergeant Dougnac (Albert Dupontel), a soldier who has seen more than his fair share of combat and stands firm in the belief that this brand of brutality can only be confronted with equal measures of barbarity. Later, Lieutenant Terrien meets a young boy who miraculously survived the massacre of his village and is forced to see the conflict through the innocent eyes of a child.
by Jason Buchanan synopsis