Alex is a prison guard at the Santé prison. His daily life is a routine mix of dealing with inmates’ scams, gang bosses’ bullying tactics and enjoying couch-potato evenings with his wife Louise. It’s a question of habit. But his prison guard uniform masks his unfulfilled dreams of escape and is a sign of his resignation. As though making amends for his petty criminal past, he’s condemned himself to spend his life in jail.
From one day to the next, Alex is transferred to the prison’s VIP cells. He regrets having to leave behind his colleague and friend René. It’s a whole new world: the new area is like a cushy hotel for deviant jet-setters. There industrialists caught with their hands in the till and major forgers benefit from the special privileges that their rank provides. As payoff, the guards readily accept tips on the side. Because he refuses to bend to the established rules, Alex attracts the suspicion of the other guards and sparks the interest of one of the prisoner, a certain Bertrand Fonsac.
Life behind bars doesn’t suit Fonsac, an important corporate boss, and he dreams of only one thing: to take vengeance on his wife Claire, who dumped him and ran off with the loot he’d embezzled over 15 years. Alex’s lassitude doesn’t go unnoticed; Fonsac even sees in it the ideal tool by which he can enact his vengeance. The corrupt businessman offers Alex a large sum of money that will enable him to change his life. In exchange, the cynical prison guard must pretend to be a mysterious investor. It’s a simple plan – or so it appears. Alex must seduce Claire so as to convince her to invest the money in a phony deal. Fonsac is sure it’ll work because his wife won’t know how to resist easy money.
Alex hesitates… and plunges in. Louise believes that he’s undergoing intensive training, whereas he spends his evenings hanging out in places Claire frequents. René is never far away, playing the role of chauffeur. But Alex quickly realizes that Claire isn’t the greedy vixen Fronsac made her out to be. In fact, she’s a woman who’s happy to have rediscovered her freedom. He starts falling for her, starts getting entangled emotionally. He has increasing difficulty coping with a real life that he no longer wants and a new life that is pure fiction. Until the day when, exhausted by lying to everybody, he decides to throw in the sponge – at the risk of losing Claire…