Thriller races around the globe like a scruffy Bond movie but without the moral clarity.
Owen plays an Interpol agent, Louis Salinger, who teams with Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts, in a rather thankless role) to bring one of the world's most powerful banks to justice. (Salinger, Whitman – want to bet that screenwriter Eric Warren Singer was an English major?)
This is one of those global thrillers that comes on like a travel brochure. Berlin, Milan, and Istanbul are the big backdrops. On the surface, at least, it all seems very James Bond-ish, except that Tykwer overdoes the grayed-out clamminess of these locations, especially Berlin. The big bad bankers of IBBC – a fictitious corporation not so subtly reminiscent of the real-life BCCI, which collapsed amid scandals in 1991 – are a sleek crew of cut-throats. They seem all of a piece with the cold, reflecting surfaces of their boardrooms. Salinger, by contrast, looks like an unmade bed. "You look terrible," Whitman tells him at one point, and he doesn't disagree.