You’d think that a new movie starring Robert Pattinson, Johnny Depp and Academy Award winner Mark Rylance would be able to generate a decent amount of buzz, especially with theaters around the world remaining shut as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, but the trio’s historical drama Waiting for the Barbarians has been released straight to digital today to almost no fanfare at all.
One of the countless movies that’s suffered at the hands of the global health crisis, director Ciro Guerra’s would-be epic originally screened at the Venice Film Festival last September, before quickly dropping off the radar and soon becoming almost entirely forgotten. No matter that it stars Batman, Captain Jack Sparrow and the B.F.G. in the three main roles, besides the first trailer dropping online in June, this one hasn’t gathered much publicity at all.
With the digital release now upon us, the critical consensus for Waiting for the Barbarians is starting to take shape, and based on the early reactions, reviews seem to be very middle-of-the-road. At the time of writing, the movie is currently sitting on a bang-average 49% Rotten Tomatoes score from 43 reviews and a solid-if-unspectacular rating of 53 on Metacritic.
That’s about as middling as you can get, with the recurring theme of many of the reviews being that despite strong performances from the star-studded central trio, the narrative surrounding them isn’t engaging enough to elevate the rest of the story above mediocrity. Given how low the visibility is surrounding the movie’s VOD launch, it seems unlikely that Waiting for the Barbarians is going to find itself dominating the cultural conversation this weekend, even with fans of both Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp set to check it out.