“Those who have had their fill of Terrence Malick‘s impressionistic musings will find Knight of Cops as empty as the lifestyle it puts on display,” writes Variety‘s Justin Chang. With his latest film, in post-production for the better part of two years and just press-screened in Berlin this morning, Malick “has settled into a deeply personal vein that all but his staunchest admirers may find wanting compared with his celebrated earlier work.

“[But] for the rest of us, there’s no denying this star-studded, never-a-dull-moment cinematic oddity represents another flawed but fascinating reframing of man’s place in the modern world.

“Absent the grand historical subjects of The Thin Red Line and The New World or the cosmic glories of The Tree of Life, the director has turned his focus on attractively forlorn wanderers set adrift in the present day, pursued by a restless, roving handheld camera that blurs their visions, memories, private moments and encounters with others into one convulsive stream of consciousness.

“To see our 21st-century reality from Malick’s exalted perspective (mediated once again by the superb eye of d.p. Emmanuel Lubezki) is to feel at once astonished and mildly deflated; it’s as if he were encouraging us to look at our everyday surroundings anew, but also working overtime to extract something profound from the overriding banality of modern life.”