This is a tragic allegory that unfolds around a fairly conventional ghost story. It is not, however, a horror film, as it is often billed. Rather, it's a tale of longing, greed, and oppression. Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War there are obvious parallels between the tyranny of the orphanage caretaker over the boys and the struggle of their nation against fascism. The imagery, especially the ever-present unexploded bomb in the isolated orphanage yard, lends a poetic poignancy to the boys' plight. It's beautifully filmed and the performances are uniformly impressive. Moving, provocative stuff.