‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ Trailer: Frontier Drama Stars Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Check out the trailer for Waiting for the Barbarians, an upcoming drama starring Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson.

The film is based on the 1980 novel of the same name by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee and tells of a magistrate (Rylance) stationed on an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire. The magistrate finds himself questioning the empire after the arrival of a colonel (Depp) who’s intent on cracking down on the area’s indigenous people, called “barbarians” by the people in the settlement.

Coetzee wrote the screenplay for the film, which marks the English-language debut for acclaimed Colombian director Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Servant, Birds of Passage). There’s certainly strong talent with the leads and this director, and that’s a highly respected book that serves as allegory on the dangers of imperialism and fascism. It’s unfortunate, then, that the early reviews for this film have been quite mixed, critics commending the performances but unimpressed with the heavy handedness and basic approach.

It’s certainly interesting to have a film with names like Depp and Pattinson getting a pretty quiet rollout. We’ll see. Waiting for the Barbarians will be getting a U.S. Digital release on August 7.

Official synopsis for Waiting for the Barbarians:

The Magistrate of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll, 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.

Samuel Goldwyn Films
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Samuel Goldwyn Films


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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.