August 5th, 2020 / 0 comments

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Robert Pattinson also appears in a haunting supporting role as a soldier, whose cold-blooded vein rsesembles that of the Colonel.

Waiting for the Barbarians has been released at a few festivals, the main being its World Premiere at Venice Film Festival in September 2019. Below are reviews that focus on Rob’s performance. I will update this with reviews as the film is released.


BFI (Venice Film Festival)

His decision to take her back to her people leads to his own arrest as a traitor and torture at the hands of the vile Mendel (Robert Pattinson). His fall is precipitous and his humiliation and torture cruel.

Variety (Venice Film Festival)

… including a foppishly snarling Pattinson … For arthouse distributors, villainous supporting turns by Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson will bolster the kerb appeal of a film likely to divide critics at some cost to its commercial prospects.

Mirror UK (Venice Film Festival)

…but Robert Pattinson gives a much more effective but underused turn as the oppressive Officer Mandel who is barely able to contain his toxic rage.

IndieWire (Venice Film Festival)

Because once Johnny Depp turns up again to take on the hordes, this time with Robert Pattinson’s sadistic Officer Mandel in tow, we already know who are the real barbarians — but that doesn’t stop this film from hitting that point and hitting it hard.

The Playlist (Venice Film Festival)

 Notwithstanding how central torture is to the film, we see very little of it and most comes after the arrival of Joll’s repulsively violent apprentice, Officer Mandel (Robert Pattinson).

Abus de Ciné [Ray Lamaj] (Deauville Film Festival)

…the actors are all excellent, even Robert Pattinson, whose role as a sadistic officer would have been the perfect ground for cabotinage, a trap in which he never falls.

Screen Daily (Venice Film Festival)

Robert Pattinson (commendably solid in a small role) … left to the tender mercies of police officer Mandel (a smoothly, discreetly unnerving Pattinson). …  Pattinson, thankfully, livens things up.

Big Picture Film Club (Venice Film Festival)

… it takes a long while before we see a glimpse of Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse, High Life). While we, from the bottom of our hearts, want to believe the powerful traits of his officer Mandel, it’s hard to do that. Not only because of Pattinson’s laughter but also because he lacks a little bit of charisma in this movie. His performance might have its flaws but it was still very enjoyable to watch.

Bina007 (Venice Film Festival)

… and later by his sidekick Mandel (Robert Pattinson).  Both men play their characters as brittle, humourless sadists, relishing their roles in fabricating a border threat, and then ruthlessly torturing the nomads who wander into town.

Cinopsis (Belgium) (Venice Film Festival)

Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson are chilling, impeccable.

Derek Winnert (Venice Film Festival)

… though Robert Pattinson has disappointingly little to do as Joll’s equally evil factotum, Officer Mandel, another eager torturer. Pattinson looks a real bad guy, a human vampire, out-weirding Depp.

Electric Shadows (Venice Film Festival)

… an equally menacing turn from Robert Pattinson as his protégé Mandel. Either smirking or furious, Pattinson’s Mandel is a dyed-in-the-wool empire man. Never questioning the ends justifying the means, Mandel is given climactic pause in a potent scene when the Magistrate confronts him with a simple question.

Every Eye (Venice Film Festival)

And then there’s a Robert Pattinson brutal and terrifying, yet another stage in an actor’s journey that involves radical changes from one role to another 

Lupiga (Venice Film Festival)

… the Hollywood stars of large caliber have colorful but still supporting roles, with Pattinson being denied space to show his skill

Micropsiacine (San Sebastian Film Festival)

Unfortunately, Pattinson is somewhat wasted in the role …

Uncut (Austria) (Venice Film Festival)

In the last third, Robert Pattinson also appears in a haunting supporting role as a soldier, whose cold-blooded vein resembles that of the Colonel.

Third Coast Review (US Release)

The film is beautifully shot and composed by legendary British cinematographer Chris Menges (who won Oscars for both The Mission and The Killing Fields), and I particularly loved the way he shoots Depp and Pattinson as if they are murderous statues. They’re dressed impeccably in their dress uniforms, as if that makes their actions and attitudes less horrific.

Spectator US (US Release)

Pattinson has been on an interesting trajectory since his Twilight days. Rather than embracing stardom like previous heartthrobs, he’s leveraged it to work on unusual pictures with David Cronenberg and Claire Denis, among others. His Mandel is athletic, handsome and domineering. Like Ronald Merrick in Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet, he has grown cruel in the imperial hothouse.

Skewed and Reviewed (US Release)

Robert Pattinson, while not featured until more than half-way through the film, does an outstanding job as officer Mandel, and lead torturer.  His character compliments Depp’s character and the two of them make for a frightening duo. … It’s visually a masterpiece and the strong acting by not only Depp and Pattinson, but by Mark Rylance drive this epic home.

Live for Film (US Release)

Fans of the new Batman may be disappointed that Pattinson’s screen time is limited, but he shows again what an accomplished actor he has become since sparkling in a different way, in his early career choices.

Datebook SF Chronicle (US Release)

One more performance must be mentioned, however, and it’s Robert Pattinson’s as an officer in the imperial police force. He plays a man who’s younger than Depp’s colonel, less sick and less impenetrable. But he’s old enough, sick enough and hard enough. It’ll take him a few years, but give him time, someday he’ll be a monster, too.

Roger’s Movie Nation (US Release)

Pattinson? His tiny part basically is just a name and a costume who got the film financed, although he acquits himself well enough.

Under the Radar (US Release)

 Joll and Officer Mandel (Robert Pattinson) are cynical, psychotic archetypes of authority whose performances are measured enough to strike fear without feeling overly hammy.

Eye for Film (UK)

Depp contributes little to the film beyond what is provided in the script, but functions adequately enough as a foil to the Magistrate and also contrasts interestingly with Robert Pattinson’s Officer Mandel, whose more emotional nature feels like a relief until one sees how quickly it can turn into viciousness. Though his role is only small, Pattinson does a lot with it, the only person present who humanise the brutality of empire to any degree.

The Digital Fix (US Release)

Once we witness the magistrate’s flagellation at the hands of the malevolent Officer Mandel (Robert Pattinson in another unexpected role) we see the subtle craft in how Rylance reacts to a situation

The Only Critic (US Release)

Rylance and Pattinson share a few colorful scenes in the films better half, Rylance with his rebellious edge and eagerness to help others and Pattinson, with his pissed-off grin and sadistic smile, are a perfect foil. At one point Rylance’s character asks Pattinson: “How do you eat?” Referring to his appetite after torturing and murdering innocent civilians and Pattinson just stares him down. It’s the type of potboiler tension missing from the majority of the film and makes you want to see an entire picture just about their relationship.

Flickering Myth (US Release)

 Robert Pattinson also makes an appearance during the second half of the movie, and while he is fine for what he has been tasked to do, I also couldn’t really tell you what convinced him to take on such a small and forgettable role.


The Guardian (Venice FF)

Pattinson is a puzzle. Such a revelation in Good Time, and charismatically enigmatic in The Lost City of Z, he just as often looks uncomfortable. His performance here is somehow both stiff and overarticulated. At least he gets one of the film’s best lines, when he thanks the residents of the fort he’s terrorised for their hospitality, then scarpers.

The Hollywood Reporter (Venice FF)

It is here, about halfway in, that Joll’s secretary, Pattinson’s Officer Mandel, makes his entrance. Sadly, it’s a rather flat supporting role that breaks the actor’s recent hot streak of superb character work in The Lost City of Z, Good Time, High Life, The Lighthouse and, also in Venice this year, his best-in-show cameo in The King. 

The Digital Fix (London Film Festival)

… this time led by the equally as unpleasant Mendel (Robert Pattinson in bad form) … While this is the best we’ve seen from Depp in some time, his character is brutally one-note, as is Pattinson’s.

Cinefilos (Venice Film Festival)

The entry of the bad colonel Joll (Depp), nor that of his helpful stooge, played by Robert Pattinson, is not enough to give backbone to a lazy story.

Filmuforia (London Film Festival)

Robert Pattinson is handed a rather bum role in playing Joll’s sneering secretary, Officer Mandel, in contrast to his fabulous recent run with the French Dauphin in The King, High Life and The Lighthouse.

The Upcoming (London Film Festival)

… along with his brutal sidekick Officer Mandel (a rather uncomfortable Robert Pattinson) …

Punch Drunk Critics (US Release)

Pattinson strikes a menacing image as Mandel, but his part is tiny and one-note.

Lost in Translation

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    The Batman Role: Bruce Wayne | Batman
    Director: Matt Reeves
    Release Date: 1 October 2021. Filming commenced 27 Jan 2020 | Filming suspended 14 March 2020 due to COVID-19. Production rumoured to recommence September 2020. Stay tuned for DCFanDome with exclusive content - 22 August 2020

    Tenet Role: TBA
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Release Date: 26 August 2020 - check out our film page for all confirmed release dates by clicking on "News" below

    Waiting for the Barbarians Role: Warrant Officer Mandel
    Director: Ciro Guerra
    Release Date: World Premiere Venice FF 6 Sept 2019 | Opening film Cartagena FF 11 March 2020. Releasing digitally in US on 7 August 2020

    The Devil All the Time Role: Preston Teagardin
    Director: Antonio Campos
    Release Date: 16 September 2020.

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    Director: Claire Denis
    Release Date: 2021 - Pre-Production: 18 February 2020 (Rumoured to be filming September 2020 in South America).

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    Director: Robert Eggers
    Release Date: Screening at TIFF Sept 2019 | US 18 Oct 2019 - DVD releases at Film Page - click News below

    The King Role: The Dauphin of France
    Director: David Michôd
    Release Date: World Premiere (Out of Competition) Venice Film Festival 2019 2 Sept 2019 | Now on Netflix.

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