His wife (Nastassja Kinski) and son are killed in a bombing by an Islamic terrorist. In a fit of revenge he storms into a mosque and shoots some of the worshippers. In order to avoid arrest, he and his friend Peter (Stellan Skarsgård) join the Foreign Legion. They soon tire of the boredom of peacekeeping and leave the Legion to become mercenaries. The film moves forward to 1993 Bosnia.
Guy has become a drug-addled and cold-blooded sniper for the Serbian VRS, overlooking a bridge separating the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims in a town. He witnesses Peter's death when Peter drops his guard at a checkpoint and a young girl throws a grenade at him. Guy becomes so hardened and unflinching after Peter's death that he kills anyone crossing the bridge from the Muslim side, including children. After being relieved and paired up with a Serbian soldier, Goran, the two are tasked with clearing the village following a ceasefire. In a surreal moment, while driving in a Yugo convertible, Goran begins asking Guy questions about America, especially regarding Beverly Hills 90210 and Luke Perry.
Following the exchange, Guy and Goran run across an aged Muslim woman, who is confined to bed and shell-shocked. Guy finds a sleeping baby, but does not inform his companion. In a brutal scene, the young Serb cuts a finger off the old woman to get at a ring. After they leave the woman, a helicopter attacks the village.
Guy runs back to save the baby, but finds that it has been killed by falling rubble. But Guy is given a second chance at redemption. He and Goran conduct a prisoner exchange with the Muslim forces. Goran mentions he's raped the female captive, which slightly disturbs Guy. However, the last Serbian prisoner exchanged is a pregnant woman, which shocks the other Serbs.
Particularly disturbed by this is Goran. The woman, Vera (Natasa Ninkovic), is from his village and was captured months before and raped by her Muslim captors and, as Goran says, now carries a Muslim child. Disgusted by what he feels is Vera's lack of courage in preventing the rape or committing suicide after she became pregnant, Goran orders Guy to stop the car they're riding in and begins to beat Vera. Vera goes into premature labor from Goran's beating. Goran attempts to shoot the soon-to-be-born child, but Guy is so unsettled at the whole scene that he kills Goran.
Vera, already suffering and on the verge of delivery, is helped by Guy to deliver her baby. When he shows Vera the child, she attempts to kill herself, but Guy prevents this. Guy takes them both to their home. At Vera's home, she is rejected by her family for being raped while she was in captivity. Guy, sickened by Vera's rejection, leaves with her and the baby.
She refuses to feed the baby, and while Guy is driving to find a source of milk, is so ashamed of the baby that she attempts to kill her, but eventually accepts the child as her own. While trying to find goat's milk, Vera's father and brother track the trio down in an attempt to kill the mother and the child but end up injuring Guy. She protects him and her baby girl and speaks with him in English for the first time. While being forced out of her home by her family, Guy suggests that they go back to her village where they can be safe. However, when they return, Vera's village has been attacked by the ARBiH, and they see her family and other villagers are being rounded up and led away by the Muslim fighters.
Guy pledges to Vera and the newborn girl that he will protect them and they plan on returning to a safer place. Vera knows of a relatively secure enclave and they make their way to a tram line to get there. Guy and the baby girl hide while Vera checks out the tram, but she is captured in a roundup of civilians by Croatian HVO soldiers. While hiding, the baby starts crying, so Vera sings a lullaby to calm the unseen baby. Guy then sees a Croat fighter beat her and some others to death with a sledgehammer, before the rest of the prisoners are shot.
While keeping the baby silent and not giving away their position, Guy has accidentally smothered her. He hurriedly resuscitates the baby girl, but the grief of Vera's death and the miracle of the child's resurrection proves too much - he breaks down and cries. Guy, with great effort, manages to get the baby to a United Nations safe zone. He abandons Vera's baby in a UN vehicle with a label bearing her name and then disposes of his rifle into the sea, crying and seeking rest from the horrors he has witnessed and committed. A following UN aid worker, who had seen him leaving the child, walks up to him carrying the girl and offers to help them.
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