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Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians is a 2019 drama film directed by Ciro Guerra in his English-language directorial debut. The film is based on the novel of the same name by J. M. Coetzee. It stars Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan, and Greta Scacchi.

Plot

The Magistrate (Mark Rylance) manages an outpost on the frontiers of an unnamed Empire. The state of affairs is pacific and there are minor misunderstandings. At this point in marches Colonel Joll (Johnny Depp) who immediately requests to be briefed on the state of the affairs on the frontiers because of his ignorance. The Magistrate tries his best but Colonel Joll remains pessimistic, apparent when he apprehends, accuses, and incarcerates an innocent man and his nephew for being sheep rustlers. Colonel Joll not only disbelieves in their innocence but proceeds to torture them, resulting in the man's death. The Magistrate confronts Colonel Joll about the torture and death to which Colonel Joll presents the nephew's (extorted & false) confession to a fantastical notion of a barbarian uprising. Colonel Joll then forces the tortured nephew to take them to his deceased uncle's tribe where Joll apprehends women and elderly men as "prisoners of war".