Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians

Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) stars alongside Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp for this historical drama centred on a distant outpost, where one Magistrate begins to question his loyalty to the Empire. From the director of Embrace of the Serpent and Birds of Passage.

2019114 minsItaly, USA
DramaHistorical

Streaming (4 Providers)

Waiting for the Barbarians / Reviews

Variety

Variety

J.M. Coetzee's brilliant 1980 novel of colonial breakdown is a tough prospect to film; he and Colombian auteur Ciro Guerra make an uneven but eventually stirring stab at it.

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Sight & Sound

Sight & Sound

It feels vital, bolstered and humanised by a stunning portrait of quiet humanity by Mark Rylance.

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Slant Magazine

Slant Magazine

Ciro Guerra never quite finds an imagistic equivalent to the novel's apocalyptic mood and subtly hallucinogenic atmosphere.

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San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

Its principal performances are superb, and yet most of the movie is dead on screen.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

Depp... seems under the impression that he's still working with Tim Burton.

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Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

Sparks fly... but not enough for award-winning Colombian director Ciro Guerra to save this anti-imperialist allegory from the thuddingly obvious.

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Associated Press

Associated Press

Intermittently engrossing and always interesting, but less potent than it could have been.

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Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

It's a collision of talents, technique and even philosophy: The much-honoured Mr. Rylance can be an antidote to actorly artifice; Mr. Depp is a delivery system for eccentricity.

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RogerEbert.com

RogerEbert.com

Despite the sincerity that's in every scene with Rylance's performance, the movie's good intentions remain wistful, and thoroughly frustrating.

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Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

This is proficient, measured filmmaking from a director who has already peered more deeply, and persuasively, into colonialism's heart of darkness.

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Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

The heavy-handed allegory... relies too much on abuse and would-be Big Ideas.

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Film Threat

Film Threat

An emotionally brutal and slow-paced film that has a few good performances and not a lot to say.

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Financial Times

Financial Times

The screenplay is written by J.M. Coetzee, adapting his own 1980 novel with a strikingly free hand but the message left intact - the eternal awful irony of which Them should really fear which Us.

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Daily Mail

Daily Mail

The book, with its themes of paranoia and totalitarianism, was acclaimed as a masterpiece. But the film... doesn't quite work.

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The Straits Times

The Straits Times

The film... wants to tear down the Empire-loving writer's romanticised notions of non-Western cultures, but does not quite know how.

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Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph

There's not much here for even the most ardent fan of overdetermined political fables.

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IndieWire

IndieWire

It’s all perfectly well-done, and it all recedes into memory the instant you leave the theater.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Like its noncommittal production design, which combines various North African, Middle Eastern and Asian influences for the locals and locales, the critique itself remains finally quite dull and dispersed because it's so broad and unspecific.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

It’s easy to read the film as a not particularly subtle metaphor for fascism or “the war on terror”, and its black hats aren’t so much characters as automatons.

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