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Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element) challenges established notions about the Maid of Orleans as he creates a decidedly more human heroine than have previous biopics. The story line is the same--a young, illiterate peasant girl convinces the dauphin of France to give her an army, and she leads them to victory in Orleans, only to be burned at the stake for heresy--but Milla Jovovich, in the title role, is a woman possessed. Her influences are less than heavenly; as a child she witnesses the murder of her sister by the English, a death caused by the sister's giving her hiding place to young Joan, which causes an intense desire for revenge. Yes, God still speaks to Joan, but even this is undermined, as Dustin Hoffman, playing The Conscience, questions her motives.
Cinematically, The Messenger is stunning, with fantastical sequences of Joan in communication with higher powers. Yet the graphic violence (scenes include random decapitation and a dog gnawing on a body); the uneven accents, which make it difficult to tell who is fighting on which side; and the rewriting of lore may make this version of Joan of Arc appeal only to Besson fans. Jovovich is convincing, and while at times the film may drag (at times you wish they'd hurry up and burn her), it is a remarkable and insightful retelling of a well-known piece of history. --Jenny Brown
I think too many people are looking at this movie as a historical remake of Joan's life.
It's hard to believe that even the most religiously medieval French soldier would give this loon the time of day, let alone follow her into battle.
Worse still, the movie claims to be 'The Story Of Joan Of Arc,' but utterly ignores the historical evidence on Joan.
I've seen a lot of Joan of Arc movies--I herd voices telling me this one was probably the most down to earth! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hope Williams
This is the worst rendition of Joan of Arc that I have ever seen. I have researched her extensively and the Lee Lee Sobieski movie is much better. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jean M. Bury Weymier
Not at all true to the real story. Portrays Joan of Arc as a crazy lunatic with an annoying habit of raving and ranting like a spoiled child. Read morePublished 4 months ago by John F. Wironen