There's a lot of stuff going on in this movie, and it all does eventually tie together. But it's very loosely tied and there's no real overarching story. It's mainly a connection of vignettes that are tied together thematically. When all is said and done, it's like if they took Love, Actually, made it darker, and merged it with something like Crash and Closer. And much like any film that's more like an anthology or collection of vignettes, some are stronger or more interesting than others.
Honestly--and this isn't just bias talking--the section with Maria Flor, Anthony Hopkins, and Ben Foster is by far the best and most interesting section. Each are compelling characters, and the whole bit has the most tension as you're not quite sure if Ben Foster is gonna snap or keep to his reformed self. Outside of my nature to gravitate towards Foster, Anthony Hopkins is just fascinating to watch. And there's a whole bit with him near the end of this section where he has this epic monologue that's probably the best part of the film.
I'm not saying the other sections were necessarily bad. They just weren't as interesting. The top billing and biggest name actors went to Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, but they honestly have such small roles that's they're not really worth mentioning. In fact, they're more of a transitional story needed for the plot. Jude Law is needed to branch the prostitution story to everything else, while Rachel is needed to introduce Rui, who is only in the film long enough to know about Laura to build up to the aforementioned best section of the film. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that this was a concept film where the concept drove the "story" instead of the "story" using the concept to expand itself... if that makes sense.
And... there's not much else to say. The acting is solid all around and probably the main reason to see the film. It's an interesting enough movie to see at least once. I do like the "everything's connected" concept, but it has been done better elsewhere. If you're going to check it out, do so for the Flor/Hopkins/Foster section of the film. The rest is interesting, too, but everything could have been a little stronger altogether.
I Am McLovin!