Detective Augustin Rejas (Javier Bardern) attempts to find the mysterious self-styled President Ezequiel (Abel Folk), a Ezequiel, a delusional Marxist-influenced guerrilla who incites the downtrodden masses to join in his brutal revolution against the corrupt fascist government in their unnamed Latin American country.
Weighing equally heavy on Rejas's psyche is his attraction to Yolanda (Laura Morante), the teacher of his daughter's ballet class. The affair provides solace to the emptiness of his marriage and his frustration in the search for Ezequiel, but it's not a cure-all.
Rejas alternately demonstrated a strong affinity for being an excellent police office/detective with being a rather incompetent one. He had his crew sorting through the city's entire day's trash until they found a discarded tube of a prescription skin cream and some cigarette butts, both particular to this Ezequiel fellow, while all the time Ezequiel was living in the upstairs room at this ballet teacher's home.
It turns out that the ballet teacher is just one of the many brain-washed revolutionaries and she goes ballistic when she learns Rejas is a cop and responsible for arresting her messiah. Rejas then cuts a deal with the government to go easy on Yolanda in prison. She is provided with a well lit cell (as she's terrified of the dark), writing materials, and she will be released after five years of her life sentence. In return, Rejas agrees not to run for President of the country, which was his for the asking after arresting Ezequiel, who had been terrorizing and murdering people left and right.