EMPIRE OF THE SUN gives you is a rousing premise, brilliant acting, a beautiful score, and gorgeous cinematography. It doesn't give you anything by way of blatant symbolism or explanation. Spielberg uses very little dialogue in his film. He leaves much to the music and visuals. Most of everything is left up to your interpretation. The film follows a young British boy, played by Christian Bale, through the years of WWII. He gradually loses his innocence, becoming exposed to the harsh realities of death and agony. The film is visually brilliant, with stunning cinematography. The score is John Williams's best (and that's saying a lot). And, Christian Bale gives a career-defining performance at age 13. He is the best thing about the film; his portrayal of a young victim of the pain of war gives the film a gritty feel. This film will make you think for a while afterwards. Parents: This isn't a particularly graphic film, but its harsh feel and mature themes make it unsuitable for anyone under 13 or 14. Little violence is actually shown, but the harsh realities of death in the camps are discussed and shown quite blatantly. One particularly heartwrenching scene features Bale trying to revive a young friend who has been shot, to no avail.