Terry Gilliam's latest effort The Zero Theorem follows a computer hacker and his ultimate goal to discover the reason for human existence. A shadowy organisation known only as The Management are keen to interrupt his work and send a lusty love interest to distract him from his potentially ground-breaking work.

Terry Gilliam Peter Stormare Ben WhishawChristoph Waltz [L], Peter Stormare [Centre] and Ben Whishaw [R] in 'The Zero Theorem'

It all sounds very...Gilliam...though from the polarizing critical reception, we're no clearer as to whether the 73-year-old has made his finest movie yet, or another scatty missed opportunity.

"...it's very frustrating when the story judders to a stop, then begins to feel repetitive. The ideas that spiral around are sometimes thrillingly astute, while the themes may resonate with us, provoking us to think about our own lives. But it's hard to care about what happens on-screen," said our very own Rich Cline.

More: check out our full review of Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem'

"Gilliam appears to have become trapped in the loop of his own fantasy - although, as fantasies go, it is a good one, dark and despairing precisely because of its awareness," said Sight and Sound.

Ben Whishaw The Zero TheoremBen Whishaw in Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem'

"The Zero Theorem is a spectacle that demands to be cherished - as long as the society Gilliam portrays is a satire, not a prophesy," wrote Mary Corliss of TIME magazine.

"Ends up dissolving into a muddle of unfunny jokes and half-baked ideas, all served up with that painful, herky-jerky Gilliam rhythm," said Leslie Felperin of Variety.

"Something of a roller coaster and fairly bumpy, the ride is the problem here," agreed Deborah Young, of the Hollywood Reporter.

Reports suggest Gilliam made The Zero Theorem for just $13 million - this in contrast to $37 million for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, $19 million for Tideland and $80 million for The Brothers Grimm.

Christoph WaltzChristoph Waltz in 'The Zero Theorem'

Speaking to Indiewire about the constraints of working with a limited budget, Gilliam explained, "I hadn't worked for that little money for over 30 years...it was just "get it on with," try to survive. Once you go, you're in the race and you just got to keep going. It was constant impossibilities overcome. But that's why it's important to have a good team of people, it's kind of a test of our abilities; how many tricks we have up our sleeves."

The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon and Ben Whishaw, is released in the UK on March 14, 2014.

Watch 'The Zero Theorem' trailer and featurette: