Drama starring Donald Sutherland as a schoolteacher who has been insulated all his life from the horrors of apartheid in his native South Africa. When the son of Ben's (Sutherland) black gardener is arrested and beaten as a result of a schoolboy protest in Soweto, at first he imagines the police must have had their reasons. However, the boy is picked up again, and this time he doesn't come back. Ben discovers that the boy was killed simply to gratify the violent urges of Captain Stolz (Jurgen Prochnow), a 'special branch' policeman. Ben hires Ian Mackenzie (Marlon Brando) to prosecute the killer. It is a foregone conclusion that Stolz will not be punished, but Mackenzie rises to new heights of withering sarcasm and irony in the courtroom and the situation turns Ben into a radical firebrand, which alienates him from his white friends and neighbours, as well as members of his family.