This is a film full of great cinematography and breathtaking, super-sharp HD shots, accompanied by a compelling HD soundtrack. Tom Tykwer, the German director best known for his film version of Süsskind's "Das Parfum", often seems to have more of an eye for the architecture than for his actors, but both are usually impressive. Clive Owen originally did not convince me in this kind of role, but he is getting steadily more believable. He is of course dwarfed by the acting talents of Armin Müller-Stahl, who recently also starred in the filming of Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks", but that's seniority for you.
The plot is not particularly complex but quite refreshing; it tackles finance with almost as much invention and sophistication as "Syriana" tackles the oil-business. In trying to be a cut above the average thriller, there are scenes where they self-consciously try to work-up the dialogue and hover around pseudo-philosophical areas. This works at some times better than others. Clive Owen occasionally stumbles on duff dialogue such as the "I'm the one you burn" metaphor about crossing and burning bridges. I didn't really find the plot twist concerning a certain character's change of heart that convincing either.
Nevertheless this is a fast-paced film that easily fills 2 hours with events rather than trundling along. It is a joy to look at and to listen to on Blu-Ray, and has enough imagination to keep you gripped throughout. Not the world's best ending ever, but better than an unrealistic one, I suppose. Solid four stars. I took one star off for the occasionally queasy dialogue when the film tries to wax philosophical and falls well short of the depth it seems to be aiming at.