The physical, mental and sexual abuse of minors has become a key issue in many societies. Films have reflected this concern. The trend is developing in cultures beyond English-speaking countries where it has been a justice issue for more than a decade.
This film is based on a true story. Its setting is an institution for wayward boys in Norway, 1915, the island of Borstoy off the Norwegian coast.
Erling is 17 and is transported with a younger boy to the island. They are read the rules, given uniforms and told that they would be referred to always as C19 and C5. Another boy, who has been at Borstoy for six years (from the age of 11) for stealing from the Church poor box, is C1 and is about to be released. These are the central characters amongst a large group of inmates.
The institution is presided over by StellanSkarsgaard who, in another life, might have been a benign administrator, but who imposes the rules despite their cruelty and, when a crisis arises because of sexual abuse, covers up for the sake of the common good - an argument that was used in all kinds of organisations.
You can read the rest of this review at CathNews.com...