Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Messenger The Story of Joan of Arc |
Actors: Faye Dunaway, Pascal Greggory, Milla Jovovich, Tchky Karyo, John Malkovich
Director: Luc Besson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
The year is 1429 France is in political and religious turmoil as members of the royal family battle for rule. But one peasant girl arrives beating a message that wins the hearts of her countrymen and the throne for her kin... more »
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Challenge a legend?
Carol Johnson | New Richmond, WI USA | 02/18/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I admit to seeing the made-for-television version of Joan of Arc before viewing this version. If it makes a difference, I also read Mark Twain's "Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc" that previous weekend, regardless of my dislike of Twain's writing style. I admit to thinking of this logical, honest, and energetic historical figure as one of the most fascinating in history. So, after viewing the scewed version called "The Messenger" I am perhaps too biased to speak.
The Joan portrayed in "The Messanger" comes off as tempermental, insecure, and ultimately insane. This is not the Joan that is recorded in history as a kind and forgiving peasant who touched the hearts of thousands by loving them, and who never spoke ill of anyone. This is not the Joan that led fifty intelligent judges in circles of words by answering calmly, consistently, and logically all answers that were intended to lead her to the stake. This is not the Joan who claimed to hear the voices of saints who informed her of events long before they happen. No, this "messenger", in the midst of a cinematic mess, is a horrifying psychotic who doesnot possess the conviction that would make an army wake up let alone fight an imposible war.
I did not like this movie. I leave you to make your own opinion, but consider that Joan of Arc was a seventeen-year-old peasant who claimed to hear heavenly voices, created a vast army and battle tactics that won back much of France, and was burned at the stake as a heretic before being declared a Saint. There are many interptretations of this historical figure, and although I am perhaps biased by my previous exposures, I don't feel that "the messenger" should be one of them."
A FILM EXAMINING A CONTROVERSIAL PERSON
Zorikh Lequidre | Brooklyn, NY | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm giving this film a high rating, both because there was not anything I didn't like about this movie as a movie, and to counter the folks who will certainly give it a poor rating.This film has blood and violence. It shows murder, rape, burning flesh, gruesome battle damage, and more. tI puts forth the possibility that Joan is a total nutcase with delusions of grandieur. It has John Malkovich as the Dauphin and Dustin Hoffman as "Conscience." This is enough to turn some people off. I say these people are missing the point.This is a film that tries to examine Joan, to explore whether she really was a chosen messenger of God or a passionate patriot who let herself believe her own delusions. Her devotion to God, finding the sword, identifying the Dauphin, leading the army, betrayal, trial, and execution are all matters of historical record, and this film goes beyond that. When Joan was on trial, she was defending herself against humans. Fallible, corruptable, humans. What if, this movie seems to ask, Joan had to defend herself against her concience? You can't say that conscience has an ulterior motive. But what if this was not her conscience but God, the source of her visions? Why would god put her through these troubles? Did Joan not follow His instructions properly? Did she start thinking too much of herself? As the figure that Joan debates within herself, Dustin hoffan carries a great deal of credibility. He has a deadpan delivery that contrasts well with Milla Jovovich's passion.Jovovich plays the role with a similar passion and nervous innocence that she brought to "The Fifth Element." I found this well communicated the passion of a farm girl who felt so motivated as to seek out the Dauphin of France and tell him to make her commander of an army. Her pep talk before Orleans was much more convincing than Leelee Sobiesky's in the TV movie "Joan of Arc," and made more grammatical sense than Mel Gibson's in "Braveheart."The brutality of some of the scenes in the movie is necessary to effectively prepare the viewer for the questions in the end. War is not a pretty thing. People die horribly, and many elements of common decency are forgotten. Joan led men into this carnage, inspired them to commit more carnage. Is this what God wanted?As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, I found the medieval feel of the movie very familiar, more so than any medieval movie I've seen. "Braveheart," "Knights of the Round Table," "Excalibur," "First Knight," "Alexander Nevsky," both "Henry V's," "Joan of Arc" with Ingrid Bergman,"El Cid," "Fall of the Roman Empire" all had battle scenes that were excellent in their own way, but this movie actually took me back to the Pennsic battlefield, the feelings of confusion, trepidation, agression, and that indescribable flow of energy that comes from knowing that you are about to go into a battle that you have been waiting for and believe that if you meet it with all you energy, you will emerge victorious. The scenes in camp planning the battle, considering the next day, in the English camp, taunting the French, all brought me back to the the placed I've been and how I've felt at SCA events.The cinematographer used every inch of the widescreen for this film. If you must see it on video, be sure to get a "widescreen" version.Jovovich has a definite "girljock" appeal in armor that in some instances distracts from the meaning of a scene. The armor shows some fluting where there should be articulation, and some flat-out innacuracies, but some of this looks like it was a directoral choice for the purpose of an overall esthetic or character detail. Malkovich will not convert anyone who doesn't like him as an actor here, but he fits the role of the Dauphin well enough. Tcheky Karyo plays la Hire with a good, brutish, charm.For the unique combination of brutal blood-and-thunder battle with thoughtful insight on the question of "who was Joan?" wrapped up in an exciting visual package, this movie is definitely recommended."
Brilliant filmmaking with a fatal flaw
flickjunkie | 04/18/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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. The battle carnage was authentically grisly and the action realistic. The costumes were wonderful and the locations and sets well chosen and well crafted. His camera perspectives gave great impact to every scene. His imagary of supernatural events was electrifying. In every regard, other than Joan's character interpretation, this was an inspired work.Milla Jovovich gave a superb performance as Joan The Mad. Though I don't agree with the interpretation, I can't imagine such insanity delivered any more effectively. She really seemed well suited for a jacket with wrap around sleeves. In every scene she exuded white hot intensity, especially in the battle scenes. Her performance was truly tour de force.Faye Dunaway was fabulous as the cunning Yolande D'Aragon. She was so nefarious and in control, deliciously evil and conniving.John Malkovich did an excellent job portraying Charles VII, however he was a bit old for the part. Charles was born in 1403 and met Joan in 1429 at the tender age of 26. Malkovich has trouble passing for 46 (his actual age) no less 26.Dustin Hoffman's minor role as the conscience was also quite well done. Unfortunately, it lost some effectiveness because he was never really put in context. Was he another of Joan's creations or an actual being? A little defining dialogue would have helped develop his character better.This is a fine film with a fatal flaw. If the story is to work, Joan must be a beloved heroine. In this portrayal, she does not endear herself to the viewer. Contrarily, she is a disturbing and off-putting character. For this reason I rated it a 7/10, though it easily qualified as a filmmaking 9 or 10."
One dimensional "movie"
katrina ford | dc | 01/25/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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."