Human rights lawyer Sarah Barcant (Hilary Swank) returns from New York to her childhood village in South Africa to work on the case of Alex Mpondo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Mpondo is now celebrated politician but back in 1986 he was imprisoned and tortured for 31 days by local policeman Dirk Henricks (Jamie Bartlett). The extent of his torture was so severe that he is unable to remember whether he denounced his comrade Steve Sizela who hasn't been seen since they were held in custody together. As the case unfolds, it soon turns out that there is much more at stake than Mpondo's almost fatal beating. Could Mpondo be afraid about his previous behaviour and what the trial may reveal?