IMDb > The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999) More at IMDbPro »Joan of Arc (original title)

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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc -- A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.

Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Andrew Birkin (written by) and
Luc Besson (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 November 1999 (USA) See more »
Plot:
A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
6 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
imperfect but interesting film See more (386 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Rab Affleck ... Comrade
Stéphane Algoud ... Look Out (as Stephane Algoud)

Edwin Apps ... Bishop

David Bailie ... English Judge
David Barber ... English Judge
Christian Barbier ... Captain
Timothy Bateson ... English Judge
David Begg ... Nobleman - Rouen's Castle
Christian Bergner ... Captain
Andrew Birkin ... Talbot

Dominic Borrelli ... English Judge
John Boswall ... Old Priest
Matthew Bowyer ... The Bludgeoned French Soldier

Paul Brooke ... Domremy's Priest
Bruce Byron ... Joan's Father

Vincent Cassel ... Gilles de Rais
Charles Cork ... Vaucouleurs' Priest
Patrice Cossoneau ... Captain
Tony D'Amario ... Compiegne's Mayor
Daniel Daujon ... Church's Peer - Coronation
Tonio Descanvelle ... Xaintrailles
Philippe du Janerand ... Dijon

Faye Dunaway ... Yolande of Aragon

Sissi Duparc ... Mary of Anjou's Lady's Companion (as Sylviane Duparc)
Barbara Elbourn ... The Aunt
Christian Erickson ... La Tremoille
Tara Flanagan ... Woman - Rouen's Castle
Bruno Flender ... Poitiers' Inquisitor
Serge Fournier ... Church's Peer - Coronation

David Gant ... The Duke of Bedford
Sid Golder ... Cell's Guard (as Sydney Golder)
Jessica Goldman ... Duchess of Bedford's Lady's Companion
Framboise Gommendy ... Joan's Mother

Robert Goodman ... Blackbeard
Jean-Pierre Gos ... Laxart (as Jean Pierre Gos)
Joanne Greenwood ... Catherine
Pascal Greggory ... The Duke of Alençon
Bernard Grenet ... Senlis' Bishop

Valerie Griffiths ... The Hag
Timothee Grimblat ... Conscience - Child
Richard Guille ... English Guard - Rouen's Castle
Thierry Guilmard ... Assessor
Jerome Hankins ... Nobleman - Rouen's Castle

Desmond Harrington ... Aulon
Jacques Herlin ... Orleans' Priest
Len Hibberd ... Comrade

Dustin Hoffman ... The Conscience
Didier Hoarau ... Assessor
Vera Jakob ... Woman at the Cemetery

Michael Jenn ... The Duke of Burgundy

Toby Jones ... English Judge

Milla Jovovich ... Joan of Arc

Tchéky Karyo ... Dunois (as Tcheky Karyo)
Gérard Krawczyk ... Church's Peer - Coronation (as Gerard Krawczyk)

Richard Leaf ... Conscience - Young Man
Franck Lebreton ... Assessor (as Frank Lebreton)
Joseph Malerba ... Beaurevoir's Guard

John Malkovich ... Charles VII
Dominique Marcas ... Poitiers' Inquisitor
Eric Mariotto ... Young Monk
René Marquant ... Rouen's Priest (as Rene Marquant)

Carl McCrystal ... Glasdale

Gina McKee ... The Duchess of Bedford

Phil McKee ... Redbeard

Simon Meacock ... The Teeth Soldier

John Merrick ... Regnault de Chartres
Joseph O'Conor ... Poitiers' Chief Inquisitor

Quentin Ogier ... Louis
Kevin O'Neill ... Scribe at Process
Mélanie Page ... Young Girl in Bath (as Melanie Page)
Brian Pettifer ... The Executioner / Torturer at Process
Philip Philmar ... English Judge
Enee Piat ... Monk at Coronation
Irving Pompepui ... Louis XI - 5 Years Old (as Irving Pomepui)
Brian Poyser ... English Judge

Olivier Rabourdin ... Richemont

Vincent Regan ... Buck
René Remblier ... Dijon's Assistant (as Rene Remblier)
Joseph Rezwin ... Poitiers' Inquisitor
Ralph Riach ... English Judge
Mark Richards ... Corridor's Guard in Rouen
Richard Ridings ... La Hire
Malcolm Rogers ... Bishop
Tara Römer ... Gamaches (as Tara Romer)

Julie-Anne Roth ... Young Girl in Bath
Olga Sékulic ... Mary of Anjou (as Olga Sekulic)
Joe Sheridan ... Canon (as Joseph Sheridan)
Eric Tonetto ... Captain

Vincent Tulli ... Orleans' Physician
Jane Valentine ... Joan 8 Years Old

Jemima West ... Girl

Tat Whalley ... Raymond
Peter Whitfield ... English Judge

Timothy West ... Cauchon
Frédéric Witta ... Poitiers' Inquisitor (as Frederic Witta)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Matthew Géczy ... (voice) (uncredited)
Romain Protat ... Crown Monk (uncredited)

Directed by
Luc Besson 
 
Writing credits
Andrew Birkin (written by) and
Luc Besson (written by)

Produced by
Luc Besson .... co-producer
Marc Jenny .... executive producer
Patrice Ledoux .... producer
Oldrich Mach .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Eric Serra 
 
Cinematography by
Thierry Arbogast 
 
Film Editing by
Sylvie Landra 
 
Casting by
Martina Kubesova 
Lucinda Syson 
Tomas Zelenka 
 
Production Design by
Hugues Tissandier 
 
Art Direction by
Alain Paroutaud 
 
Set Decoration by
Robert Le Corre 
Ronald Meanti 
Alain Pitrel 
Jérôme Poirier (set decor)
 
Costume Design by
Catherine Leterrier 
 
Makeup Department
Fabienne Bressan .... hair stylist
Fabio Campora .... hair stylist: Milla Jovovich
Magali Ceyrat .... key makeup artist
Nathalie Champion .... hair stylist
Ivana Chlostova .... makeup artist
Marianne Collette .... key makeup artist
Nadine Dumas .... assistant hair stylist
Nadine Dumas .... assistant makeup artist
Claudia Gaudin .... special makeup effects artist
Martial Germain .... special effects assistant makeup artist
Fabrice Herbet .... special makeup effects artist
Morgan Hildebrand .... special effects assistant makeup artist
Barbara Kichi .... makeup artist
Barbara Kichiova .... makeup artist
Christine Leaustic .... hair stylist
Gerald Mignotte .... special effects assistant makeup artist
Franck Monelli .... special effects assistant makeup artist
Linda Reif .... assistant makeup artist
Kuno Schlegelmilch .... special effects hair stylist supervisor
Kuno Schlegelmilch .... special effects makeup artist
Bobo Sobotka .... makeup artist
Manuela Taco .... makeup artist
Ghislaine Tortereau .... hair stylist
Frédéric Zaid .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Cyril Deleye .... assistant unit manager
David Deshayes .... unit manager
Bernard Grenet .... production manager
Marc Guidetti .... unit manager
Thierry Guilmard .... production manager
Patrick Millet .... production manager
Michal Prikryl .... production manager: Prague
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Laurent Brégeat .... first assistant director: second unit
Laurene Cabillon .... second assistant director
Pascal Chaumeil .... second unit director
Gwénaelle Daujon .... second assistant director
Frédéric Garson .... first assistant director
Anne Gilles .... first assistant director: second unit
Stéphane Gluck .... first assistant director
Gérard Krawczyk .... second unit director
Jordane LaFourcade .... second assistant director
Jean-Paul Meurisse .... second unit director
Stephane Moreno-Carpio .... second assistant director
Tomas Pavlacky .... first assistant director: Czech Republic second unit
Frantisek Rezek .... third assistant director
Dusan Vodák .... assistant director: Czech Republic
 
Art Department
Milan Babik .... assistant propmaster
Gilles Baillot .... art director assistant
Pierre Bandin .... set property man
Jean-Michel Bar .... property master: second unit
Fabrice Bouchelet .... swing gang
Philippe Cabrie .... props
Jean Castelnau .... art director assistant
Jean-Pascal Chalard .... art director assistant
Jean-Jacques Chapelle .... head construction grip
Michel Courtemanche .... locksmith supervisor
Thierry Doerflinger .... plasterer
Gerard Drolon .... art director assistant (as Gérard Drolon)
Yann Dury .... sculptor
Alain Evrard .... property master: second unit
Gilles Guerber-Zaza .... model maker supervisor (as Gilles Guerber)
Jacky Hardouin .... carpenter
Yvan Hart .... plasterer
Virginie Hernvann .... assistant art director
Géraldine Hervé .... assistant production designer
Bruno Juguet .... painter
Jacques Kazandian .... draftsman supervisor
Martin Kotek .... set dresser
Bernard LaTouche .... head construction grip
Bertrand Laval .... head construction grip
André Marchandet .... plasterer supervisor
José Matos .... construction coordinator
Guy Monbillard .... set dresser (as Guy Montbillard)
Pavel Nový .... art department coordinator: Czech Republic
Pavel Nový .... construction manager
Leonardo Pancari .... carpenter
Alain Paroutaud .... art director: Czech Republic
Pascal Peignet .... art director assistant
Marc Pinquier .... property master
Francis Poirier .... sculptor supervisor
Claude Pollan .... landscape scenic artist
Brigitte Renard .... sculptor supervisor
Stéphane Richaud .... construction grip
Benoît Sanson .... property buyer
Christian Vallat .... art director assistant
Karel Vanásek .... property master: Czech Republic
Aloiz Vyslan .... set dresser
Sophie Campbell .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Sylvie Le Vessier .... sculptor (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Yunus Acar .... sound recordist: second unit
Marc-Antoine Beldent .... adr assistant (as Marc-Antoine Belledent)
Marc-Antoine Beldent .... foley assistant (as Marc-Antoine Belledent)
Anne Delacour .... assistant sound editor
François Groult .... adr engineer
François Groult .... foley engineer
François Groult .... sound mixer
François Groult .... sound re-recording mixer
Larry Hopkins .... layback sound mixer
Frédérique Lebel .... assistant sound editor
Jérôme Lévy .... foley artist
Fred Mays .... post-synchronisation
Pascal Mazière .... foley artist assistant
Bridget O'Driscoll .... assistant sound editor
Bruno Tarrière .... adr engineer
Bruno Tarrière .... foley engineer
Bruno Tarrière .... sound re-recording mixer
Vincent Tulli .... sound designer
Vincent Tulli .... sound recordist
Jean-Alexandre Villemer .... sound recordist
Ken Yasumoto .... assistant sound editor
Ken Yasumoto .... boom operator
 
Special Effects by
Alain Couty .... special effects technician
Jean-Claude Dauphinot .... special effects technician
Grégoire Delage .... head set special effects
Georges Demétrau .... special effects supervisor
Denis Duplex .... special effects technician
Pascal Fauvelle .... special effects technician
Sara Helmlinger .... special effects assistant coordinator
Jean-Claude Houbart .... special effects locksmith (as Jean-Claude Houbard)
Delphine Le Roch .... special effects producer
Didier Ledanturier .... special effects property man
François Philippi .... special effects
Raph Salis .... special effects property man
Rudolf Tudzaroff .... special effects technician
Jirí Vojtech .... special effects technician
Olivier Zenenski .... special effects technician
 
Visual Effects by
Stephanie Aubriot .... digital artist
Andre Brizard .... digital compositor
Alain Carsoux .... visual effects supervisor
Stéphanie Dargent .... matte painter
Thierry Delobel .... digital compositor
Stephane Deverly .... research and development
Stephane Dittoo .... visual effects artist
Delphine Domer .... visual effects coordinator
François Dupuy .... I/O technician
Pascal Giroux .... visual effects production manager
Rip Hampton O'Neil .... technical director
Afif Heukeshoven .... 3D artist
Chia-Chi Hu .... digital compositor
Emmanuel Le Courbe .... digital compositor
Bruno Le Provost .... 3D supervisor
Delphine Le Roch .... visual effects producer
Karine Marchandou .... transfer and digitization manager
Frederic Medioni .... digital artist
Prothais Nicolas .... rotoscope artist
Benoit Philippon .... visual effects
Michael E. Phillips .... digital editing supervisor
Pitof .... digital visual effects director
Olivier Poujaud .... sequence supervisor
Johann Quéré .... visual effects
Sebastien Rame .... digital compositor
Nicolas Rey .... 3D supervisor
Jean-Paul Rovela .... digital artist
Antoine Simkine .... visual effects executive producer: Duboi
Manuel Souillac .... digital artist
Georges Tornero .... digital compositor
Daniel Trujillo .... digital artist
Jean-Marie Vives .... matte painting director
Veronique Zylberfain .... matte painting artist
 
Stunts
Alain Barbier .... stunts
Christian Barbier .... horses stunts
Jean-Marc Bellu .... stunts
Affif Ben Badra .... stunts
Christian Bergner .... horses stunts
Michel Bouis .... stunts
Daniel Breton .... stunts
William Cagnard .... stunts
Guillaume Castillon .... horses stunts
Miriam Caumes .... horse stunt double: Milla Jovovich
Pascal Chemel .... horses stunts
Gilles Conseil .... stunts
Patrice Cossoneau .... horses stunts
Hugues Dalmagro .... horses stunts
Yannick Derrien .... stunt supervisor assistant
Laurent Devrieze .... horses stunts
Michel Didier .... horses stunts
Barbara Dupont .... assistant stunt coordinator
Alain Gaudiard .... stunts
Jean Girard .... stunts
Albert Goldberg .... stunts
Alain Grellier .... stunts
Pascal Guégan .... stunt supervisor assistant
Philippe Guégan .... stunt supervisor
Christian Hening .... stunts
Cyrille Hertel .... stunts
Karim Hocini .... stunts
Petr Jákl .... stunts
Jirí Kuba .... stunt coordinator: Czech Republic
Marcel Labbaye .... stunts
Pascal Lopez .... stunts
Mario Luraschi .... horses stunts supervisor
Pascal Madura .... horses stunts assistant
Philippe Morel .... stunts
Patrick Médioni .... stunts
Peter Olgyay .... stunts
Cyril Raffaelli .... stunts (as Cyril Cuenel Raffaelli)
Catherine Robert .... stunt double: Milla Jovovich
Stanislav Satko .... utility stunts
Patrick Steltzer .... horses stunts
Marc Teterel .... horses stunts
Eric Tonetto .... horses stunts
Marek Toth .... utility stunts
Martin Turecek .... stunts
Frédéric Vallet .... stunts
Lionel Vitrant .... stunts
Philippe Zone .... horses stunts
Vladimir 'Furdo' Furdik .... stunts (uncredited)
Peter Hric .... stunts (uncredited)
Roman Jankovic .... stunts (uncredited)
Gustáv Kyselica .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Branislav Martinak .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Lubomir Misak .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Michael Sandala .... stunts (uncredited)
Roman Spacil .... sword fighter (uncredited)
Philippe Zone .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-Paul Agostini .... focus puller: second unit
Thierry Alais .... grip
Rene Basso .... grip
Alain Bolle .... focus puller: second unit
Sophie Bosquet .... assistant camera
Sophie Bosquet .... focus puller
David Campbell .... crane operator: Technocrane
Dominique Cento .... camera operator: helicopter unit
Karel Charvat .... dolly grip
Bertrand Chatry .... camera operator: second unit
Sarah Couvelaire .... second assistant camera
Alain Dutartre .... focus puller
Jack English .... still photographer
Gilles Floquet .... grip
Michel Galtier .... assistant camera
Pierre Garnier .... grip
Jean-Pierre Gesbert .... grip
Claude Hirsch .... head gaffer
Lukas Jaromersky .... electrician
Loïc Jouan .... gaffer
Cyril Kuhnholtz .... grip: second unit
Benoît Lemercier .... gaffer
Laurent Martin .... grip
Jean-Pierre Mas .... key camera grip
Jean-Paul Meurisse .... camera operator: second unit
Christian Meynard .... grip: second unit
Yves Michaud .... Steadicam operator: second unit
Michael B. Moers .... second assistant camera
Steve Moreau .... video assistant
Pierre Morel .... Steadicam operator
Zdenek Mrkvicka .... assistant camera
Frédéric North .... pilot: camera helicopter
Philippe Pantanella .... gaffer
Luis Peralta .... gaffer
Marie-Laure Prost .... focus puller: second unit
Maricella Ramirez .... first assistant camera: additional scenes
Xavier Renaudot .... electrician
Michel Rodas .... Steadicam operator
Luc Rondeau .... gaffer
Jean-Pierre Sauvaire .... director of photography: second unit
Gérard Sterin .... director of photography: second unit
Laurent Tangy .... assistant camera
Benoît Theunissen .... remote head technician
Eric Thurot .... electrician
 
Casting Department
Nathalie Cheron .... casting: France
Nathalie Guillaume .... casting: children
Claire Hammond .... casting assistant: France
Virginia Murray .... casting assistant
Juliana Reis .... casting: children (as Juliana Reis-Peronne)
Todd Thaler .... extras casting
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Olivier Bériot .... costume supervisor
Anne David .... costume supervisor
Thierry Delettre .... costume supervisor
Élodie Desautels .... dresser: second unit
Bela Friedlová .... wardrobe
Christophe Garcia .... dresser
Christophe Giraud .... costume painter
Patrick Lebreton .... costume supervisor
Lorenzo Mancianti .... key props costume
Jacques Mazuel .... dresser
Karen Muller Serreau .... wardrobe (as Karen Serreau)
Laurence Nicolas .... wardrobe
Sebastien Peronne .... dresser
Annick Redon .... dresser: second unit
Jitka Svecova .... costumer
Kamel Tazit .... costume props designer
 
Editorial Department
Soline Guyonneau .... editor trainee
Yann Hervé .... assistant editor
Yseult Huret .... assistant editor
Yvan Lucas .... color timer
 
Music Department
Geoff Alexander .... orchestrator (as Geoffrey Alexander)
Sébastien Cortella .... musical assistant (as Sebastien Cortella)
Isobel Griffiths .... orchestra contractor
Didier Lozahic .... score mixer: synthesizer score
Didier Lozahic .... synthetic music recordist
Ulrich Schneider .... music recordist
Eric Serra .... conductor
Eric Serra .... musician: synthesizer
Bruce White .... viola
 
Transportation Department
Barbora Jurkovicova .... transportation captain
 
Other crew
Shelley Barbour .... assistant: Mr. Hoffman
Yves Bogdan .... location manager
Simon Borecki .... runner
Olivier Bousy .... historical advisor
Philippe Bénard .... assistant: Miss Dunaway
Fabrice Champion .... location manager
Mel Churcher .... acting coach
Thierry Crépin .... location manager
Donatienne de Goros .... script supervisor
Nicolas De Loren-Anno .... assistant: Mr. Besson
Alain Dominiecki .... accounting assistant
Romuald Drault .... production accountant
Richard Edwards .... chaperon: Miss Valentine
Glen English .... armorer
Terry English .... armorer
Zdenek Fiala .... location manager
Monika Fiserova .... horse master
Zdenek Flídr .... unit production coordinator
Florence Forney .... production secretary
David Frak-Lauer .... production runner
Cédric Fréni .... production crowd coordinator
Marc Guidetti .... location manager
Bruno Guilhem .... assistant: Mr. Malkovich
Martina Götthansova .... interpreter: second unit
Rip Hampton O'Neil .... research and development manager (as Rip O'Neil)
Didier Hoarau .... location manager
Markéta Hodousková .... production horse coordinator: Czech Republic
Veronika Horka .... accommodation captain
Vladimir Houbart .... location manager (as Vladimir Houbard)
Marcela Jahodova .... cashier
Michael Johnson .... armorer
Lenka Kadlecova .... production runner
Tereza Kalova .... production secretary
Vernice Klier .... acting and dialogue coach: Milla Jovovich (as Vernice Illier-Moskowitz)
Jiri Kotlas .... production runner
Marine Lafon .... assistant: Miss Jovovich
Patrick Le Goc .... assistant location manager
Françoise Le Goff .... production office assistant
Arnaud Le Roch .... location manager
Franck Lebreton .... assistant location manager (as Frank Lebreton)
Louis Leterrier .... production assistant
Sophie Lifshitz .... assistant secretary
Radim Macha .... coachman
Colette Martin .... production accountant
Virginie Moussier .... production secretary
Poll Moussoulides .... dialogue coach (as Pol Moussoulides)
Pinnell Neal .... armorer
Roland Ory .... helicopter pilot
Monique Pautas .... financial controller
Lenka Pavlakova .... interpreter
Jan Peterka .... head accountant: Czech Republic
Sébastien Protat .... production crowd coordinator
Arnaud Putman .... location manager
Otto Requette .... production assistant
Stéphane Reus .... location manager
Gabriela Rezacova .... set interpreter
Corinne Saglio .... assistant production accountant
Verone Silla .... production office assistant
Petr Splichal .... production crowd coordinator: Czech Republic
Vincent Stevenel .... assistant production accountant
Silenn Thomas .... production executive
Jiri Tichacek .... assistant accountant
Jean Philippe Varin .... animal supplier (as Jean-Philippe Varin)
Julie Vasconi .... script supervisor
Bobane Veselinovic .... location manager
Aruna Villiers .... script supervisor
Cameron Watson .... dialogue coach
Véronique Zimmer .... production coordinator
 
Thanks
Mathieu Kassovitz .... thanks
Madonna .... special thanks
Sting .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Joan of Arc" - France (original title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated R for strong graphic battles, a rape and some language
Runtime:
158 min (unrated version) | USA:148 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Milla Jovovich and Faye Dunaway both played Milady De Winter in the film adaptations of The Three Musketeers. Dunaway played her in the 1973 version and Jovovich played her in the 2011 version.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Joan meets Dauphin Charles for the first time she holds her arms around him shifting from just above his waist to around his hips.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Title Card:1420. Henry V, King of England, and Charles VI, King of France, sign the Treaty of Troyes. The treaty states that the kingdom of France will belong to England upon the king's death. But the two kings die a few months apart. Henry VI is the new king of England and of France...
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
My Heart CallingSee more »

FAQ

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
imperfect but interesting film, 5 August 2000
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States

If it were not based on a true story, Luc Besson's `The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc' would be a tale filled with credibility gaps a mile wide. Since it is, however, a recounting of one of the world's most famous stories of military triumph and personal tragedy, the film actually generates the most interest when it concentrates on just those mind-boggling historical incredibilities.

Joan was, of course, the deeply devout, illiterate peasant girl who, spurred on by what she claimed were visions and voices sent directly by God - assuring her and France of a glorious victory over the advancing forces of the invading English army - managed to convince a desperate monarch to have her lead an army into the field, despite the fact that she brought with her no previous battle experience or even a rudimentary knowledge of the use of weapons in combat. We first see her as a young girl, strangely obsessed with religious piety, attending confession daily, running through the woods in a mad frenzy of ecstasy, encountering strange, inexplicable visions along the way, and, eventually, being driven to an intense hatred of the British by the rape and murder of her beloved older sister. We see the French royalty, so driven to desperation by the seemingly inexorable encroachment of the brutal British onto their native soil, that they lend credence to this child and give in to her demands, sending her out to lead the troops into what turns out to be some truly miraculous routs and victories. But glory is, more often than not, an ineffable entity that is lost as quickly as it is gained – and Joan learns tragically that, once her original goal of restoring the French monarch to his throne is achieved, her services are no longer of value, and she is allowed to be captured by the English, tried by the Catholic Church, and burned at the stake by the English government for the crime of witchcraft.

Given this fascinating and astonishing series of events, it would be difficult to make a film completely lacking in interest and insight. And, indeed, `The Messenger' is, perhaps, a better film than many of the harsh, almost bitter reviews by many critics would indicate. The first half of the film is a rather conventional telling of the tale. The warrior Joan often comes across as a shrill, petulant adolescent who somehow never convinces us that she is, indeed, someone all these military strategists would follow. But, about midway through the film, the screenwriters, Andrew Birkin and writer/director Besson, begin to apply some psychological depth to the character. After a particularly sanguine encounter with the English, in which hundreds of decapitated and limbless corpses strew the blood-soaked ground, Joan breaks down in despair over the horrifying inhumanity of the sight. From then on, her actions arise from a paradoxical conflict occurring within the very core of her being - between the righteousness of her pious cause, the pacifistic teachings of Christ and her single-minded devotion to her king and country. When she is finally captured and held in prison before and during her trial, she begins to question the veracity of her visions and to ponder whether the motivation for her cause really lay in divine inspiration or an obsession for personal glory and power. We're a long way from the astute psychological insights of Carl Dreyer's classic silent film version of the story, `The Passion of Jeanne d'Arc,' but `The Messenger' does take occasional time out from its action sequences to attempt to explore the question of whether Joan's miracles were the product of divine intervention or of mere happenstance and chance coupled with a determination and passion borne of insanity. Unfortunately, casting Dustin Hoffman as the Voice of Conscience who visits her in her cell and speaks for the side of reason as she descends more and more into seeming madness, renders much of this otherwise fascinating section faintly ludicrous. Every time his overly familiar face and voice arrive on the scene, we are immediately thrust out of the context of the story and find ourselves tempted to giggle out loud – hardly the tone one wants to establish as Joan of Arc marches grimly to the stake. Also, much of what he utters rings false in the context of the film's era; he sounds like he is mouthing psychobabble that would not arrive on the scene for at least another five hundred years.

In terms of dialogue, historical films have always it seems had to face an inevitable Hobson's Choice: should the writers employ language that reflects the reality of the time, thereby making the characters sound stilted or dated by today's standards, or should the authors resort to the use of more modern vernacular, enhancing the immediacy of the story, perhaps, but also possibly creating an uncomfortable and awkward sense of anachronism that weakens the verisimilitude of the film so painstakingly established by the elaborate set decoration and costume design of the film? The writers of `The Messenger' have, for the most part, taken the latter course, leading to mood-shattering declarations by the characters such as `she's nuts!' and `I'm gonna kill that f------ bitch' along with a barrage of four-letter word expletives with which no contemporary PG-13 or R-rated feature could ever do without.

Those with a queasiness when it comes to movie violence had best be forewarned: the battle scenes, though expertly shot and edited, register high on the bloodletting scale.

Of the performers, none matches in quality the exquisite photography, art direction or costume design that adorn the film. Milla Jovovich is, at best, adequate as Joan, rarely giving more than a surface interpretation of the complex psychological struggles occurring at the root of her personality. John Malkovich, as the would-be French king, for whose throne Joan lays her life on the line, has his moments, but the part is not really big enough in the context of the film to allow him to create a multifaceted performance. Faye Dunaway brings a cool, subtle intensity to her role as the future king's manipulative mother-in-law.

`The Messenger' emerges as an ultimately unsatisfying mixture of faults and virtues, yet, because it has such a fascinating story to tell, the film is far more interesting than the brutally hostile reviews that greeted the work's initial release would lead one to believe.

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so she was insane? bumpocbum1
so she was insane? bumpocbum1
Are English get bad treatment in movies? nuwansube
Pulling teeth Wyld_womyn
Was anyone freaked out by the Jesus scenes? popularsi
why are they portraying the english badly. DJOfRadioGallifrey
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