First Glance: “Waiting for the Barbarians”


The oddly titled “Waiting for the Barbarians” dropped a new trailer and the first thing you notice is its attention-getting cast. Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson head this intriguing drama that debuted at the Venice Film Festival. It has finally been given a firm digital and on-demand release date and our first look at the film gives us plenty to chew on.

Set on the remote edges of an unnamed empire, the story seems to revolve around a well-meaning magistrate (Rylance), a sinister security officer (Depp), and an upstart trooper caught in the middle (Pattinson). I love the cast and its particularly great to see Rylance given such a meaty lead role. It has an interesting setting and the cinematography is unquestionably eye-catching.

“Waiting for the Barbarians” is set to release August 7th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

8 thoughts on “First Glance: “Waiting for the Barbarians”

  1. Hmmm, maybe. Looks like British Empire, or certainly the unnamed empire is a stand in for the days of the British Empire, set somewhere in Asia. I think I can take a guess as to what the story line will be. It ain’t gonna be Gunga Din anyway.

      • Good cast for sure, which is a good sign, you’d think they have plenty of choices and were attracted to the movie by the quality of the script and the director (who I have never heard of). I think the word barbarians could go a few ways too, but wait and see on that.

  2. OK, this actually looks interesting though Johnny Depp lately is the iffy aspect of it as he’s lost me in recent years with some of the roles he’s done. Mark Rylance and Robert Pattinson are a plus but it’s Depp as I’m afraid he’ll go weird again.

    • You really never know what you’re going to get with Depp. I might those glasses immediately makes you wonder if he’s going weird again. We will know soon.

  3. I saw this slow, but cerebral and allegorical drama at the London Film Festival in 2019 and it is well worth a watch for Mark Rylance’s intelligent performance. If you didn’t know it is based on a famous literary classic, written by J. M. Coetzee. Arguably, it could have been more dramatic in places, however, it still presents a damning indictment of colonialism and if you fancy a change of pace and an arthouse adaptation it is worth watching.

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