Having been institutionalized for most of his life, Jack (Andrew Garfield) is finally released from prison at the age of 24. He and another boy murdered a child when they themselves were children. The film follows Jack's attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart a life which never really got going.
Under the fatherly mentoring of Terry (Peter Mullan), his parole contact and social worker, he experiences a coming of age, which would normally have happened years ago. Forces from the past are constantly upon him. As we learn more about the events leading up to the crime which has ruined so many lives, there is an increasing sense of suspense, intrigue and ultimately doom: the tabloid press and Terry's real son are not going to let things lie.