If X = Quitting and Y = Failure, Then X + Y = Suicide. After quitting his doctoral math studies because he can't complete his thesis, Lars returns to the small factory town where he was raised to be a substitute high school teacher--and contemplates suicide. But he soon discovers that his most distant pupil, local bad boy Jonny, is a math prodigy. The epiphany convinces Lars he should coach Jonny outside of school, helping the young man fulfill dreams that Lars could not realize for himself. But Lars' seemingly simple new life equation becomes complicated when he becomes interested in Jonny's girlfriend Claire, a leftist political activist, and his fellow teacher Ingrid. Meanwhile, the local factory that is the economic backbone of the town--and is owned by Claire's father--is about to be sold to a U.S. company.
Writer/director Jimmy Karlsson skillfully adapts Lars Gustaffson's novel Yllet. Set in 1981, a great transitional period in Sweden in which the ideals of socialism were losing ground to the material promise of capitalism, Karlsson carefully captures the grittiness of small-town Sweden while illuminating the social and political issues with which these towns had to contend. He quietly establishes an old-fashioned tone through subtle pacing and the actors' deliberate movements and glances speak volumes with few words. A Breach in the Wall is an intelligently crafted work with a style and substance that is anything but by the numbers.