On improvising a burglary at a shady tycoon's home, Fred takes refuge in the hip and surreal universe of the Paris Metro and encounters its assorted denizens, the tycoon's henchmen and his disenchanted young wife.
1429. While the war between France and England (the Hundred Years War) appeared settled in 1420, in England's favour, the death of King Henry V of England reignites it. England occupies large areas of France and appears set to take the whole of it. Into this moment of crisis rides legendary Joan of Arc, a teenage girl who claims to be lead by divine visions.Written by
Jack Nicholson was considered for the role of The Conscience. Milla Jovovich said, "I'm glad it wasn't him. He's an incredible actor, but it's Hoffman I want to work with." See more »
Joan's older sister was not murdered by soldiers, but survived to adulthood and married. She died ultimately in childbirth. See more »
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, but he is only a few months old. Charles VII, the Dauphin of France, has no intention to abandon his kingdom to a child nor even to his tutor, the Duke of Bedford. A bloody war begins and the English, along with...
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The European release was 10 minutes longer than the US theatrical version, which omits, among others, the scene where Joan's virginity is tested before the court of King Charles VII. The longer version has been released in the USA on DVD. See more »
I'd rather be burned at the stake than watch this film again.
The only reason I'm spending the time to post a comment here is to warn you not to waste two and half hours of your life on this film, like I did.
Even though I had heard mixed reviews, I went into the theatre with a very positive attitude about this film, since I've enjoyed Besson's past films, as well as the work of many of this cast.
Looking back, I should have followed my gut instinct and left about a minute and a half into the film: pretty much any time a filmmaker uses a Gothic typeface in titles and expository text and then adds something ridiculous like blood running over a map, you can bet your life that the rest of the film will show the same stupidity, lack of taste, and disrespect for the intelligence of the viewer. The murder/rape (in that order) a few minutes later confirmed my first impression, but for some reason I stayed.
Maybe I stayed because I teach classes on film and watch a lot of movies, and I am more than willing to give ANY film a fair shot (and sometimes two or three). I wanted this film to succeed. But it falls down on so many levels that I felt my own calling from God, as it were, to wage a small battle against it.
The reviews published by the San Francisco papers, NY Times and Chicago Sun-Times (Ebert) give a pretty good summary of what's wrong with this film, even though I think their "two stars" ratings are quite generous.
To summarize my own thoughts on the film, I feel that the script doesn't know what story it's trying to tell, and Besson and Jovovich seem to have no sense at all for the complexities of Joan's story, as it has come down to us.
The acting is as overwrought and void of subtlety as any I've seen in a long time. The only highlights are a couple of performances from supporting characters (who unfortunately are shackled by the poor screenplay) and Dustin Hoffman's appearance toward the end of the film (way too little, way too late to save the film). I felt particularly saddened by the clownish performance John Malkovich gives, although I can't help but think/hope that he was forced to do it by Besson. (I wondered while watching the scene where Joan tells Charles about her revelations whether Malkovich was mocking Jovovich . . . and the whole production for that matter.)
Everything else you see in the film (art direction, costume design, soundtrack, special effects, even the look of every single supporting and bit player, etc. etc.) is as cliche and unimaginative as the screenplay and acting. It feels as if Besson and Co. sat down and said, "What is the absolutely most stereotypical image that the average moviegoer who knows nothing about 15th-century France or Joan of Arc or who has never thought about spiritual things in a meaningful way will expect when he or she sits down to watch this film?" And then, having done little thinking themselves, they filmed it.
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