Derek Jarman immaculately lenses a series of dazzling, colourful pictures to illustrate the tortured life of Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Karl Johnson). Wittgenstein is shown as a boy living a repressive youth, demonstrated by his family appearing in Roman togas. When Wittgenstein leaves to study under Bertrand Russell at Cambridge, he begins to investigate language and apply the strictures and constructs of language to philosophical study. The subject of Wittgenstein's homosexuality is depicted when, after World War I, he falls in love with a poor philosophy student, Johnny (Kevin Collins). Also portrayed is Wittgenstein's death at an early age from prostate cancer.