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Movie Reviews

Joan Of Arc : The Messenger  

Joan of Arc (Milla Jovovich)
King Charles VII (John Malkovich)
Yolande D'Aragon (Faye Dunaway)
John (Tckeky Karyo)
The Conscience (Dustin Hoffman)

Directed by Luc Besson Written by Luc Besson and Andrew Birkin
Rated R for violence, strong graphic battle sequences, rape scene, language Running Time: 130 minutes Distributed by Columbia

The Messenger is the story of the historical legend Joan of Arc. Joan Arc (Jovovich) is a teenage girl that leads France into defeating the powerful English army during the 100 Years War. Joan claims to everyone that she is a messenger from God. After her beliefs and actions bring power back to France, the country she defended vastly turns on her. England then captures her and claims her as a witch and heretic. Now, after 500 years the questions are still unanswered of who Joan of Arc really was.

The Messenger is an adaptation of a historical story. The film does seem accurate with its information. However, I found the film left out a lot, especially in the last half-hour. If the production would have linked all the information about Joan of Arc, the running time could have surpassed 4 hours.

Luc Besson directed The Messenger. Besson's previous credits include La Femme Nikta, The Professional, and The Fifth Element. Besson does a moderate job with tackling this historical piece. The battle scenes are very fast and aggressive. I just really didn't care for the way that Besson decided to express Joan's visions and how she got her messages. Besson brought in computer generated effects to show a church stain glass explode with light to give Joan the message. I just don't know why a computer-generated effect would be used in a film that takes place in the 1400's, unless it was a movie like Dragonheart.

Besson also wrote The Messenger with his writing partner Andrew Birkin. The movie has its moments, however, the story dies towards the end of the film. However, there is one aspect towards the ending that is effective. While Joan is captured, her conscience is Dustin Hoffman all in black, and he is directly questioning Joan of her visions and messages. It is just that all of the important characters in the film just leave and never come back. An example is King Charles VII (Malkovich), who is so important in the story of Joan of Arc. However, once Joan is captured, Charles never arrises again in the film.

Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich are terrific as usual. I thought Milla Jovovich was a nice choice for Joan. There is only one problem that I had with Jovovich being cast; she is too old to be Joan. Joan was a teenager when she led France against England. Though in the film Joan does state her age, I still saw Jovovich as too old for the character. However this picky address of mine does not hurt the acting at all.

The Messenger is a film that might die off quickly. This mostly could be attributed to the fact that audiences saw a better version on television not too long ago.

Report Card Grade: C+

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