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  • The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc [Blu-ray]
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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc [Blu-ray]

406 customer reviews

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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

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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


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Product Details

  • Actors: Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Desmond Harrington, Milla Jovovich
  • Directors: Luc Besson
  • Producers: Patrice Ledoux
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Korean, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Spanish, English
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese, Thai, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 158 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001GF8WOO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,000 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 81 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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23 of 28 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 73 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.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Exguyparis on September 24, 2002
Format: DVD
Based on the polarity of reviews here, I knew this was a film that would leave a strong impression. I land on the very positive side. This is a fascinating film- gorgeous in its settings and costumes, powerful in its depiction of medieval war, and profound in its exploration of the life of a paradoxical heroine.
Milla Jovovich's take on Joan is an intriguing blend of shy farm girl, zealot, religious fanatic, saint, and tormented soul. There is some interesting casting here: Dustin Hoffmann is appropriately eerie as God/Satan/Joan's conscience/Joan's subconscious; John Malkovich, although perhaps a bit too old (the Dauphin/King was only about 9 years older than Joan), is effectively petulant and ethics-free. Faye Dunaway looks absolutely horrid, thanks in part to the bizarre attire and hair style of the time, and in part to really, really bad plastic surgery. A large supporting cast demonstrates the extremes that Joan provoked: loyalty, hatred, fear, and adulation.
The criticism for the film's lack of historical accuracy makes me laugh. Some reviewers fervently deride some of the films events, as if they were witnesses to the historical reality. These events happened almost 600 years ago. Much of the "facts" about Joan's life come from testimony twenty years after her death, when her family was trying to reverse the guilty verdict. Joan was already a legend, and the testimony of her reality was certainly already tinged by her fame.
If you want a 100 percent historically accurate version of the life of Jehanne Darc, find a time machine and head back to Doméremy, France, January 6, 1412 (or thereabouts-the exact year of her birth is not known). If you want a film that vividly and passionately tells a tale of a mythical legend, buy The Messenger.
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