"Barbarians" is a teenage drama about coming of age in a world where there is no opportunity. A portrait of a young generation growing up in a society of lost values. Luka is a young man on the verge of adulthood who leads a group of local second league football supporters, with his best friend Flash. Troubled by his parole, family problems and a secret relationship with a girlfriend of one of the football players, Luka desperately tries to fit in.
A depiction of Serbian youth brought up in a time of economic and moral demise. Told through the character of Luka, a small town football hooligan, the film tells a story about manipulation of this troubled youth using hatred and deception.
- A destitute Serbian family on welfare forced to flee Kosovo into a small town in Serbia suffers from a variety of social problems. The father has abandoned his family while the mother feels victimized by circumstances. The repercussions of all fall on the teenage son's troubled shoulders. Luka (Zeljko Markovic) feels at loss, alienated, and angry in his meanderings in town.
The first scene oozes potential violence and intensity when Luka and his best pal Flash are shopping for a gun, but it seems Luka doesn't have enough cash on him. His basic state of mind is mild existential depression with all the bravado and machismo threatening impulsiveness of bleak Eastern European economic conditions. School is of no interest, social workers are on Luka's back, and the only true interest and passion remaining is supporting the local team. He has issues with the team's player over of a bad crush on his girlfriend. And is forced to become a driver for the team's black striker to ameliorate a racial abuse incident during a game by his buddy Flash, who is considered too unreliable and dumb for a driver's position.
The life of the youth circles around booze, sex, partying, and posturing. Nationalism and racism are an undercurrent amongst East-European football hooligans, and Ikic builds his narrative on Luka's impulsiveness and willingness to challenge the bigger and more dangerous bosses of the town. Eventually Luka visits his dad who doesn't recognize him...and his blank face says everything.