U.S. Army Major Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington
) can't sleep at night … and he doesn't want to. Marco spends his days giving inspiring speeches about his platoon's ambush in the Kuwaiti desert and the heroics of Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber
), who won the Medal of Honor for saving Marco's crew. But at night, Marco's dreamlike memories of the desert turn sinister and terrifying. And Marco privately wonders whether the two soldiers who died in the firefight might have met darker fates than officially recorded - and whether Shaw might not be the glorious hero that everyone thinks he is.
When Shaw takes the national stage as a surefire candidate for vice-president - under the thumb of his controversial mother, Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (Meryl Streep) - Marco is forced to act on his growing suspicions. With military officials questioning his sanity, and the net of security tightening around Shaw, Marco races to probe deeper into the unimaginable, shocking truth before the White House is won.