Firstly, this film has to have the most deceiving trailer I've seen. Makes it seem like an action film. I didn't know it was going to feel like a 3 hour film.
It turns out to be a depressing drama film, about a father trying to support his children. He lives in poverty, and resorts to crime to support them, and shield them when necessary against their unstable bipolar mother. Something does happen to him, but in no way is that portrayed realistically in the trailer.
There was a surreal element to the film, that was really strange because it really didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the plot. It's like a very slow moving family drama, yet it has this guy that seems to be able to communicate with the dead. Perhaps they felt if they used that too much, the film would drift into realms that wouldn't portray the family orientated drama.
It shows a sort of underground side to Barcelona. It's quite dim, quite grimey yet nowhere enough to conceive the work as that alone. A stunning performance by the all the actors, especially the main, with shows such a humane, emotional side to him that is extremely difficult to sit still through. Only one thing touches the acting in this film, and that's the cinematography. There's a beautiful scene of starlings flocking over the coast, and some other scenes that no doubt won the work here a cinematography award.