Waiting for the Barbarians

Critics Consensus

Admirable in theory but disappointing in execution, Waiting for the Barbarians struggles to turn strong performances and worthy themes into affecting drama.

47%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

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Release date: Aug 7, 2020

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Movie Info

The Magistrate (Mark Rylance) of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll (Johnny Depp), whose task it is to report on the activities of the 'barbarians' and on the security situation on the border. Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations, which leads the Magistrate to question his loyalty to the empire. Adapted by Nobel Prize winning author J.M. Coetzee from his own book, Directed by Ciro Guerra, co-starring Robert Pattinson.

Cast

Mark Rylance
as The Magistrate
Johnny Depp
as Colonel Holl
Robert Pattinson
as Officer Mandel
David Dencik
as The Clerk
Sam Reid
as The Lieutenant
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Critic Reviews for Waiting for the Barbarians

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (19)

  • Depp... makes a show out of pretending to be understated and seems under the impression that he's still working with Tim Burton.

    August 6, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Sometimes it really is better to just read the book.

    August 5, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Its principal performances are superb, and yet most of the movie is dead on screen.

    August 4, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Guerra has tweaked the novel's Beckettian coda, and the film's final shot provides a full stop that is, in 2019, appropriately apocalyptic. The barbarians are us, and the wait is over.

    September 13, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Harry Windsor

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • The message is not wrong, but it certainly is a disappointing use of Guerra's talent.

    September 6, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…

    Ben Croll

    indieWire
    Top Critic
  • As a viewer, it requires hard work to feel something that goes deeper than common-sense pity when confronted with stock characters stuck in a generic predicament in a nonspecific time and place.

    September 6, 2019 | Full Review…

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