A Polish film takes up the issue of justice carried out by a rural community, in the Polish village of Wlodow, neglected by the authorities and left to their own devices to deal with the unpredictable violence of a local criminal. Six men lynch the criminal and brutally murder him after which they are put on trial. The film carefully reconstructs both the incident itself and the trial against the perpetrators of the crime. It was shot close to the village of Włodów in a similar landscape and social environment, maintaining both the original character of the environs and circumstances.
This film provides examples of:
- An Arm and a Leg: Zaranek nearly cuts off the arm of a father trying to protect his family
- Downer Ending: The main characters are all sent to prison for five years and one of them commits suicide.
- Evil Old Folks: Zaranek is an elderly man who constantly terrorizes his own village.
- Inspired by...: The story is based on actual events, but Zaranek's actions have been largely exaggerated and he was not reportedly as violent and brutal in Real Life.
- Karma Houdini:
- The prisoners who enjoy tormenting the main characters while in jail. They set one man's feet on fire and when his friend stood in his defense, they beat him nearly to death. After that, the guards save the man from being beaten and take him out of the cell. The gang rapes the other guy who was left in the room. They don't appear afterwards (outside a small flashback which the guy who was raped has, before committing suicide).
- The Jerkass prosecutor also qualifies.
- Kick the Dog: Zaranek kills a family's dog by decapitating him and throws his head in the middle of the street.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: When five men with shovels beat Zaranek brutally to death, it is hard to feel any sympathy for him.
- Machete Mayhem: In every scene Zaranek appears, he either carries a machete or an axe. He actually collects a lot of these in his house.
- Would Hit a Girl: Zaranek first savagely beats a female clerk in the store. Then, he beats an old laduy her nearly to death, threatens her daughter to make her call the police off, and breaks glass into his own granddaughter's face when she tries to fight off him molesting her.
- Would Hurt a Child: Zaranek atempts to kill a seven-year old boy with an axe.