This sumptuously photographed period drama is set in 1791 Vienna. Maximilian Bardo, an opportunistic 18-year old Viennese man with aspirations to rise above his bourgeois upbringing, looks for a chance to shoehorn himself into the nobility. His hopes lead him to the castle of a wealthy inventor, Alexander Plant. It is here that a strange story is played out, as Maximilian, full of naive illusions and innocent ideals of what it means to be wealthy and noble, quickly loses his innocence. Falling prey to the jaded aristocrats in residence, he is cruelly initiated into their decadent games.