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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc


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Product Details

  • Actors: Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Rab Affleck, Stéphane Algoud, Edwin Apps
  • Directors: Luc Besson
  • Writers: Andrew Birkin, Luc Besson
  • Producers: Luc Besson, Marc Jenny, Oldrich Mach, Patrice Ledoux
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Columbia TriStar Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2000
  • Run Time: 158 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (389 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767845722
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Extended International Version with an Additional 10 Minutes of Footage
  • HBO First Look Featurette: The Messenger: The Search for the Real Joan of Arc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The year is 1429. France is in political and religious turmoil as members of the royal family battle for rule. But one peasant girl from a remote village gave her country the miracle it was looking for. Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Dazed and Confused) is Joan of Arc, a young woman who would inspire and lead her countrymen until her execution at the age of nineteen. Raised in a religious family, Joan witnessed her sister's rape and death at the hands of an invading army. Years later, as the same war raged on, Joan stood before her king with a message she claimed came from God: give her an army, and in God's name she would reclaim his diminished kingdom. But was the message real, or thedelusion of a girl whose life had been shattered? This startling epic drama by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) explores the life of Joan of Arc, her amazing victories, relationship with God, and tragic death. Co-starring John Malkovich and Academy Award(r) winners Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway, THE

Amazon.com

1999 may be remembered as the year of Joan of Arc: NBC created a miniseries in her honor, Carl Dreyer's long-lost The Passion of Joan of Arc was discovered in a mental hospital, and Facets re-released Jacques Rivette's Joan the Maid. Luc Besson rounds out the corpus with his stylistic and vaguely heretical grand-scale feature, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.

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

Customer Reviews

I think too many people are looking at this movie as a historical remake of Joan's life.
N. Goodwin
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.
the wizard of uz
Worse still, the movie claims to be 'The Story Of Joan Of Arc,' but utterly ignores the historical evidence on Joan.
Jason E. St. Pierre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Savannah on April 18, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This movie is so painfully inaccurate, one could assume it was written by someone who not only has no notion of who Joan of Arc was historically, but also has no reverence for her as a saint. Joan of Arc had two brothers, not a sister. Domremy was not attacked by the Burgundians or the English, as it was already English territory. Joan heard the voices of Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret, and Saint Michael. Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret were the dominant voices. She also spoke of the voices comforting her, not terrorizing her for following their direction. I despise this representation of Joan as a broken, pathetic, and incredibly insane antihero. Anyone who has given the time and thought to reading her trial transcripts would know that she was so much more than this film could possibly pretend to portray.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Justin on April 1, 2003
Format: DVD
I have read like three books on Joan of Arc and I have seen the mini-series on NBC, starring LeeLee Sobieski (I love you!). Everything I have seen or read about Joan of Arc, Jean d'Arc, was better than The Messenger. Joan was a kind, wonderful person but this movie made her look like a maniac that should be put away. Though I have to say Milla Jovovich played a wonderful crazy person. Joan's visions weren't even correct. In the movie she saw some man that looked like Jesus, while in life she saw Saints, such as St. Catherine. The war scenes were gruesome, but I liked them; they were realistic. Another thing wrong was how Joan found her sword. She didn't find it in a meadow, as if someone dropped it there and she found it. Her voices told her that the sword was in St.Catherine's temple around the alter, so she sent some of her men to the temple and they found it buried by the alter just as she said. No one else knew it was there before. I was so upset after watching this movie, because it didn't show the true Joan of Arc. I would recomend reading Joan of Arc by Mark Twain to find the real Joan of Arc.
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56 of 71 people found the following review helpful By "flickjunkie" on April 17, 2000
Format: DVD
This is a rather irreverent and disturbing look at the life of Saint Joan of Arc. The portrayal of her early life was very good, giving her a sincerity and piety that made the child Joan an attractive character. However, once Milla Jovovich took over as the teen Joan, she became a raving lunatic. Clearly, this was no accident. She and director Luc Besson are husband and wife, and it is obvious that this is their combined interpretation of Joan.
The problem with this portrayal was that Joan was made to be appear so demented that she lost credibility as a believable character. Her belief in her voices was depicted more as mad fanaticism than unshakeable faith. Personally, I have no problem with this interpretation, since I am more apt to believe her voices were the result of an unbalanced psyche than the voice of God. The problem I have is believing that anyone, even in the 15th century, would give an army to someone who is so obviously over the edge. Moreover, it is a stretch to believe that even the most desperate of simple minded men would follow such a character into battle.
If the portrayal were just a little more balanced, with moments of piety, sincerity and lucidity, the viewer and the other characters around her might be justified in saying, `Is she divinely inspired or simply mad?' Only when that question resonates has Joan been portrayed effectively. In this interpretation there was never any question. She was clearly a madwoman. It was almost a relief when they finally did away with her.
That being said, I must say that from a technical standpoint this was a brilliantly directed film. Luc Besson has produced a compelling visual work of art. The opening scenes of young Joan running through the fields were exquisite.
Read more ›
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful By katrina ford on January 25, 2003
Format: DVD
There is a movement of late for the French to ATTEMPT to do (many) things a la Amerique, especially in movies by trying to capture the grande epic style of film that America does so well.
Although Besson's film, "Le femme Nikita," is one of my top five favorites, he failed here; and I fail to call myself his fan.
Here are the problems:
La pucelle was NEVER raped.
Jehanne was compassionate towards English soldiers, peasants, etc
She was not insane, schizoid, or mentally ill in any way.
She was very eloquent and could debate with the most learned men.
The dialogue represents the 20th C.
Weapons are wrong.
Technical work is second-rate.
Even the hair colour was wrong (she had black hair).
Besson uses La Pucelle as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement, and it was a poor attempt at that.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By goodoldmac on April 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I have seen three films based on the life of Joan of Arc, the Ingrid Bergman film from the late 1940's, the video verison of the recent mini-series and this one, and this is, by far, the worst of the three. Historically, it is a farce, (Joan did in fact have a sister named Catherine, but she was not in any way harmed by the English, in fact, Joan's village apparently only suffered one minor raid during the entire war)...Bishop Cauchon, far from wanting to "save Joan's soul" was the spearhead of the plot to completly discredit her and have her burned. Neither did she sign with an "X"one of her letters to the English garrisons around Orleans still survives in a museum and the signature,Jeanne, which is what she called herself is plain...All period sources agree on how even tempered she was, becoming upset only on very rare occasions. The Joan of this film seems closer to a lunatic than the peasant girl who led an army. I will admit that the costuming is superb, as good as any I have ever seen. Joan's spiritual side in this film is almost non-existent, shown only by her requests to hear Mass during her imprisonment. As it stands, I only give this film two star based on the cimenatography and the costuming...The great "Joan of Arc" film is still to be made....
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