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A GOOD HISTORICAL FILM LET DOWN BY NO SPECIAL FEATURES!,
This review is from: Joan Of Arc - The Messenger [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
In 1429 the Hundred Years War is not going well for France. English soldiers are freely roaming French soil and the Duke of Burgundy (MICHAEL JENN) has allianced himself with the English forces under Lord Talbot (ANDREW BERKIN).
The Dauphin of France, Charles (JOHN MALKOVICH) is in a quandary for his treasury is almost empty and the army demoralised. While the English threaten his dwindling borders, Charles turns to the stern Yolande of Aragon (FAYE DUNAWAY), who tells him that his prayers may soon be answered. A young peasant girl named Joan (MILLA JOVOVICH) is seeking an audience with the Dauphin and rumours abound that she has been sent by God to save France from imminent destruction.
Ignoring his court aides, Charles sees Joan in a private meeting and instantly grants her a small army, much to the castigation of seasoned warriors like Dunois (TCHEKY KARYO) and Giles de Rais (VINCENT CASSEL), who resent being commanded by a young woman. They soon change their minds.
Joan leads the outnumbered French forces to stunning victories at Orleans and Reims, allowing the Dauphin to be crowned Charles VII at the cathedral here, but her march on Paris ends in disaster. When she personally confronts the new king for reinforcements to continue the campaign, Joan finds him indifferent and preparing to seek a diplomatic, rather than military, conclusion.
Charles now finds himself with another dilemma. Joan has achieved his ambition for the crown but the young woman could now become a dangerous liability if she persists in causing trouble with the English so a peace treaty cannot be signed. Spurred on by Yolande of Aragon, Charles callously allows Joan to fall into a trap set by the Duke of Burgundy, who soon sells her to the English.
Joan is promptly handed over to the Duke of Bedford (DAVID GANT), who plans to burn her as a heretic, despite the objections of Cauchon (TIMOTHY WEST), that she be given a fair trial. Meanwhile Joan spends her time in prison wrestling with her own conscience (DUSTIN HOFFMAN) while awaiting sentence in several emotionally charged scenes.
Has she really been sent by God to save France, or can the signs she has been finding be given a more earthly explanation?
There have been numerous films about Joan of Arc over the years and this one, by LUC BESSON, is a good adaptation. Most of the battle scenes are somewhat brutal and realistic. We continuously see decapitations and splattering blood, not to mention crows pecking at corpses, for instance. In contrast the brief siege of Paris is rather disappointing and let down badly by the fact that the French soldiers seem to be climbing the city walls totally unopposed.
MILLA JOVOVICH gives a feisty performance as Joan and expresses a nice range of emotions. She is at first tentative, then full of bravado before remorse and self doubt begin to set in.
Despite spanning such an interesting time in history, with plenty of material available about the period, not to mention one of the leading historical figures of France, the only Special Features on the disc are a couple of trailers and these are not even for the film featured here!
Although hardly a Saintly package, the film is good, plus it looks and sounds great on the Blu-ray format.