Joan Of Arc - The Messenger [DVD] 
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Tormented by visions, young Joan (Milla Jovovich) leaves her country home, seeks out the heir to the French throne, and tells him that God has charged her with the task of freeing France from the English. Granted an army, Joan fulfils her promise, but is later betrayed and tried as a witch. Director Luc Besson combines the vivid clarity of Jacques Rivette's earlier 'Jeanne La Pucelle' with a fast-moving storyline and comes up with one of the boldest versions of the Joan of Arc legend yet produced.
Over the years, many film directors have attempted to tell the story of legendary 15th-century heroine Joan of Arc, a simple country girl who claimed she was inspired by God to lead the French troops in a victorious assault on the mighty English army. Luc Besson's 1999 epic might not be the best version of her life, but it's certainly the biggest. The movie cost a reported $60 million. Even if you are terminally unimpressed by the scale of such recent blockbusters as Gladiator, your eyes will pop out at the sheer number of bodies (living and dead) that Besson has assembled for the dynamic battle scenes. The lavish sets and costumes are almost equally gobsmacking, though neither will show to maximum advantage on the small screen. That's a pity because size is the only thing Joan of Arc really has going for it--as a human drama, it falls completely flat.
The historical Joan was eventually made a saint by the Catholic Church, and earlier biopics tended to treat her celestial visions as literal fact. It was probably a mistake for Besson and his co-screenwriter Andrew Birkin to take a more psychological approach and present them as figments of her hysterical imagination. It makes it hard to work up the necessary empathy when the spectacle revolves around a confused and neurotic babe who couldn't organise a Tupperware party, let alone a vast military campaign. Milla Jovovich (the star of Besson's previous The Fifth Element and formerly his wife) doesn't help matters with her shrill and amateurish performance. But a couple of the supporting players are passably amusing--John Malkovich camps it up energetically as Charles, the dispossessed French king whom Joan reinstates, while Faye Dunaway wears outlandish headgear and carries on like a science-fiction creation in the role of his scheming mother-in-law. (The less said the better about Dustin Hoffman's pompous turn as Joan's personified conscience.) Besson keeps to the same glossy visual style even when the Maid is burning at the stake, but it isn't enough to prevent this empty shell of a movie from being a colossal yawn. --Peter MatthewsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
All in all, a very enjoyable war-drama, with an authentic story and some well-done battle sequences. I recommend it to fans of the actors, of Luc Besson's other work and of war movies/dramas in general. Just don't expect a full-out war movie; it's two hours and thirty minutes long, and I don't think more than forty-five minutes in total are spent fighting.
But was the message real, or the delusion of a girl whose life had been shattered? This startling epic drama by Luc Besson explores the life of Joan of Arc, her amazing victories, relationship with God, and tragic death. Co-starring John Malkovich and Academy Award winners Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway, The Messenger is a modern take on a medieval saint who enthralls people even today.
Actors Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, Pascal Greggory, Vincent Cassel, Timothy West & Tcheky Karyo
Director Luc Besson
Certificate 15 years and over
Screen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Languages English ; German - Dolby Digital (5.1)
Additional Languages German
Subtitles English ; Polish ; Czech ; Hungarian ; Icelandic ; Hindi ; Hebrew ; Dutch ; German ; Turkish ; Danish ; Swedish ; Finnish ; Greek ; Norwegian ; Arabic ; Croatian
Duration 2 hours and 31 minutes (approx)
Inspiration, a saviour is needed to rid the lands of the invaders who roam freely.
A young peasant girl who had been born in 'Domremy' in 1412 was to emerge from obscurity to give France hope.
At the age of 13 'Joan' began to have visions, when finding a sword and returning home she finds her village under attack from a
group of English Knights, 'Joan's' sister sacrificed herself to save young 'Joan'
'Joan' believed at the age of barely 16 that she'd been given a mission by God to lead her Countrymen to victory and rid the land of
the English....already building a reputation and following she seeks out at 'Chinon' the 'Daufin' - 'Charles' (John Malcovich) the would
be King of France if the English King 'Henry VI' relinquished his claim.
'Joan' (Milla Jovovich) asks to lead his army against the occupying forces, could she convince 'Charles' that her visions and mission
were from God ?....truth is, he and France were desperate to believe that salvation was possible.
After a series of victories over the English 'Charles' does indeed exceed to the Throne, her task not over she asks for a army to complete
her mission but will be refused.
'Joan' during the battles and more so when facing trial for heresy struggles with her conscience and is often seen talking to an imaginary
figure played by 'Dustin Hoffman'
She had been a thorn in the side of the English forces and at the age of just 19 will face their brutal justice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A real historic feel to this film, great acting and production.Published 8 months ago by Dave Moore
I enjoyed this film more than I expected having read some dire reviews. It certainly brings the story of The Maid to thrilling life, especially the military campaigns which are... Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. A. Rowell
This might not be Besson's best films since it doesn't fully tell the important elements about Joan of Arc that still has a very good performance by Milla Jovovich who just worked... Read morePublished 14 months ago by josh91