Ultimately I don't think the movie knew what it wanted to be. It was part thriller, part sex romp, and part tragedy. But it never quite pulled off any of the three very well. I still found myself engrossed in the story however, wanting to see how it ended up, though I suspected from the beginning that it would end poorly for one or more of the characters.
I'm not sure if my interest in the film was due to some of the odd sets used - such as the strange hotel that Ryu and David use for their tryst that used a railway car as a themed room. It was also interesting to see the quiet of Japanese graveyards and how the female models washed themselves clean of sushi smell with lemon juice. Odd choices for me helped keep things interesting at least. And as if to punctuate that feeling of oddness, I was amused by the use of a driving school Ryu could see from her window that appeared several times.
The use of multiple languages and subtitles throughout the film added to the feeling that some of these characters were just thrown together by fate. English, Spanish, and Japanese are mixed throughout with English subtitles where necessary, though all of the voiceovers were done in Japanese with subtitles.
In addition to the film itself, a featurette was included explaining how the film came together. It turns out that part of the story came to Coixet on an earlier trip to Tokyo where she saw a tough female employee working in a fish market who refused to allow her picture to be taken. Beyond that, we hear a bit from the actors about the production but don't really get much in the way of behind-the-scenes information.
If you're looking for an odd drama/thriller with the streets of Tokyo as the backdrop, then Map of the Sounds of Tokyo may just be what you are looking for. Check it out on DVD at your favorite rental store counter.