Freud is quoted as saying 'the Irish are the only people who cannot be helped by psychoanalysis.' The Irish view mental illness not so much as a failing but an inevitability. The main character here is a small boy of 12 who retreats from reality in response to the overwhelming pressures of life. His alcoholic father and long-suffering mother are only the beginning of his troubles. Set in a small town in Northern Ireland, in the early 1960's, this film shows us a boy who cannot shed his hated for another boy. He lives in a world of 'haves' and 'have nots.' When he is confronted by those he perceives as haves, he cannot control his rage. Unable to be helped by family or the clergy (who don't understand him and cannot even solve their own problems) the boy at first retreats into a fantasy world, then finally descends into violence and madness.