When Japan capitulated on August 15, Indonesian nationalists proclaimed the independent Republic of Indonesia. Colonial rulers did not accept this, the Dutch East Indies were, after all, Dutch "property". First British troops took up arms against the Nationalists, and then in 1946, Dutch troops took over. The Indonesian War of Independence that followed killed an estimated 100,000 people. Surprisingly, rather little is told about this war in the Netherlands. Director Jim Taihuttu, who won a Golden Calf in 2013 for his film Wolf, shows what actually went down in "The East".
To set things right in the Dutch East Indies during the war of independence, the young Dutch soldier Johan (Martijn Lakemeier) is deployed in 1946, together with more than one hundred thousand others. Johan gradually falls under the spell of the charismatic captain Raymond Westerling (Marwan Kenzari). When the war escalates and Westerling methods to crush the resistance of the population become increasingly ruthless, the line between good and evil starts to blur more and more for Johan.