Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ciro Guerra

Writer: J.M. Coetzee (Screenplay) J.M. Coetzee (Novel)

Starring: Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Greta Scacchi, David Dencik

Plot: A Magistrate working in a distant outpost begins to question his loyalty to the empire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow & Uneventful

Story: Waiting for the Barbarians starts as we meet the Magistrate (Rylance) on an outpost in the frontier for the English Empire, he has spent time getting to know the locals, learning that both sides just want peace, but Colonel Joll (Depp) arrival changes thing, as he sees the natives as savage barbarians that are a threat to the empire.

After Joll’s events, the Magistrate tries to fix things, which includes returning a girl taken and tortured, trying to do the right thing, which is against the wishes of the empire.

Thoughts on Waiting for the Barbarians

Characters – Magistrate runs the outpost, he has kept peace between the two sides with his calm nature, he sees people as people not an enemy or a threat, just people looking to survive, he is against violence and will risk everything to make this happen. Colonel Joll inspects the outpost, he sees anyone who isn’t part of the empire as a threat that needs to be eliminated, his ideas are opposed to the Magistrate’s which will see him use his position of power to get what he wants from the situation. Officer Mandel is the one that distributes punishment, he enjoys doing this more than most men. The Girl is one of the victims of the punishment, one that Magistrate wants to fix becoming attached too during this time.

PerformancesThis is a film with a wonderful cast in Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson who we all know could lead any film with ease, only here they are given very little to work with, Rylance is the standout, with his calm performance, while Depp gets caught up in the middle of trying to be edgy and ending up looking odd, with Pattinson never given enough time to show the unhinged character getting unleashed.

StoryThe story here follows a Magistrate in a frontier outpost, one that hasn’t seen any problems in his outpost until it is caused by the people above him, he sees the change in environment, which shows his stance will see him become the problem to the empire. This story is cut up into seasons which do show the change in tone within the outpost, the mindset of the rivalry between the two sides. The film does have a very slow pace, which does seem to extend scenes for no reason. We are left wanting a lot more from this story, which feels like it wants to give us.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film inside the outpost, it shows how the community has come together but still shows the different structure within the classes.

Scene of the Movie – The journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many plot holes.

Final Thoughts Very slow movie that seems to miss the action it wants to promise, only to focus on the bigger problems with how the empire tried to change what they discovered.

Overall: Too Slow.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – C – Clue (1985)

Director: Jonathan Lynn

Writer: John Landis, Jonathan Lynn (Screenplay) Anthony E Pratt (Board Game)

Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp


Plot: Six guests are invited to a strange house and must cooperate with the staff to solve a murder mystery.

Tagline – “Cluedo” isn’t just a boardgame anymore!

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliantly Fun Mystery


Story: Clue starts when six guests using fake names, Mrs Peacock (Brennan), Mrs White (Kahn), Professor Plum (Lloyd), Mr Green (McKean), Colonel Mustard (Mull) and Miss Scarlet (Warren) are invited for a dinner party, with butler Wadsworth (Curry), maid Yvette (Camp) and host Mr Boddy (Ving), they each have a secret that is about to get exposed, only tonight they can end their torment of  being blackmailed by Mr Boddy.

The problem comes when the lights go off and Mr Boddy is murdered by one of the seven, with the weapons Candlestick, Gun, Dagger, Rope, Wretch and Lead Pipe in the room, the eight joined by Yvette must figure out who the murderer is before they leave the house.


Thoughts on Clue


Characters – Wadsworth is the butler who is preparing everybody for the dinner, he does have a reason for his own reason for the whole party, he must keep everybody calm as he has been just as much of a victim in the film. when it comes to the guests we have the known figures from the game, they have all been blackmailed, we don’t learn too much about their personal lives as the only things we do learn are involved in the blackmailing going on.

PerformancesTim Curry is fantastic in this role, when he does the solving sequences in this film, we see the energy level in the film reach levels we have rarely seen in film. when we look at the rest of the cast, they are strong through each of the events of the film.

StoryThe story here follows the six iconic board games characters put into the middle of the mystery after one of the guests gets killed, they all have motives for being the ones that commit the crime and as the bodies continue to pile up they must solve the case before it is too late. Anybody that has played the game knows how this can be one of the fun games to play, we get the weapons, the characters and the rooms each being involved in the murders which this film offers up. We get a nice pacing to this film which does feel like you are helping to solve the case and with three different ending you will never know which one you will be getting.

Comedy/Crime/MysteryThe comedy in the film comes from word play, it is very quick witted and will get the laughs in the right places. The crime and mystery elements of the film go hand in hand, as we see the guests needing to solve the mystery of who committed the crime.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the house which is simple and effective, it shows us just what is going on with each chapter being unfolded in the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Tim Curry’s energy in the reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Have the larger body count is strange.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully fun movie, you can enjoy what is going on with the characters with the crazy connections and be left to try and figure out the truth for yourself.


Overall: Fun and Enjoyable.