13 year old Jochum lives with his single mother and her boyfriend in a poor urban neighborhood somewhere in modern Germany. Without much pocket money he resorts to petty theft and is soon exploited by an older boy who encourages him to steal ever more expensive items. Of course he is soon caught and eventually ends up in reform school.
The drama searches the root causes of his situation; an extremely important and topical theme. The mother seems to care more about her boyfriend and his business than the welfare of her son - but perhaps she is only trying to survive. The warden believes that some boys are simply born and bred to be offenders whilst his more liberal assistant thinks that harsh treatment merely encourages dissent. We are left to make up our own minds on the matter for there can be no other conclusion than the sad injustice of wasted youth.
Excellent acting and some sharp editing techniques make this drama very watchable and rewarding. But ultimately it lacks the depth of insight that a really great study would need. We are given little insight into the lives of the other boys and so any comparative analysis can only be superficial. Recommended for parents of young teenagers who might be having family difficulties themselves.