A film worth revisiting thanks to Martin Scorsese's energetic camera and editing, though it ultimately plays out like an elaborate experiment. The Kafka-esque comedy might have been better served by directors such as David Lynch or Luis Buñuel who could have derived a greater sense of social satire from the material.
Sadly, the proposition that J.J. Abrams' reboot of the franchise (like his reboots of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and STAR TREK) represents anything more than consumerist habit and brand fealty (a Disney specialty) is quickly eroded by this mostly banal affair. Mostly follows the familiar beats established by the original trilogy with none of the urgency or any of George Lucas' unheralded storytelling panache.
Thank both Criterion and the movie gods for plucking this obscure Czech film from director Frantisek Vlácil out of obscurity. It owes much to Tarkovsky (ANDREI RUBLEV), a bit to Bergman (THE SEVENTH SEAL and some WILD STRAWBERRIES), and in turn Terrence Malick owes it almost everything. A hauntingly poetic, visually stunning medieval masterpiece set in the era when Christendom was replacing paganism in souls of lord and peasant alike, which has the power to remind me just how much of cinema there is yet to discover.