• R, 2 hr. 28 min.
  • Drama, Classics
  • Directed By:
    Luc Besson
    In Theaters:
    Nov 12, 1999 Wide
    On DVD:
    Oct 30, 2001
  • Columbia Pictures

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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Reviews

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TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

October 5, 2013
Luc Besson's The Messenger is a fairly underrated dramatic action film about Joan of Arc. Although not perfect, I found this one to be much better than what most critics have said about it. The film packs action and those scenes are very well done, but in terms of effective storytelling, I felt that the performances were decent, but what really stood out were the battle scenes. In terms of story, this does a good job at telling Joan of Arc's story, but it is not accurate either. The film has the potential of sparking interest in the subject. Milla Jovovich does what she can and she gives a fairly good performance here, but the film overall will never stand out in terms of an epic. In retrospect, there are far better films than this, but The Messenger is still mindless popcorn fair that is fun from start to finish. Of course there are things that seem out of place, but overall, it's definitely not as bad as what I'd think it would be. There are things that could have been improved upon considering its subject, but in the end, it's a fairly accomplished movie that manages to be quite good despite its flaws. If you're going into this film expecting something historically accurate, then you'll be disappointed. Director Luc Besson obviously takes creative liberties with Joan of Arc's story. Go into this one expecting a mindless action drama with an interesting plot, but it is never anything great either. I enjoyed it, but felt it should have been much better. The story had the potential of being truly memorable, and with that being said, The Messenger is good, but the definitive Joan of Arc film has yet to be made.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2011
When Joan walks into the royal court for the first time to plead her cause, to free France of English poachers, they are already whispering about the peasant girl some claim as a saint. Except for not seeing how she came to be whispered about I really enjoyed Besson's tale (pro-French and anti-Catholic) that underlines how any act of faith is ultimately a dance with self doubt. It may is may not be of importance that Besson and Jovovich were divorcing as this filmed, so you decide.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

August 5, 2007
Luc Besson's mad tale is more of a visual experience than a story.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

November 9, 2006
I think they did a pretty good job of telling the true story. Milla did a great job and the cast was phenominal.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2007
Not bad. Seems to check out historically, and there was plenty of good action and decapitation for the whole family. The only parts that I don't really follow are the whole creepy voiced under-eye-skin Jesus and the Dustin Hoffman imaginary friend. I guess they threw those in to remind us that God didn't really send her on the mission? Aside from that, great actors and acting. This was back when Milla Jovovich was hot, before she started to only do roles where she is an action star. I especially liked her completely freaking out and screaming like a mad woman in the first few battles. The army captains were clad in great costumes, and they were all very likable. However, they didn't do what all great war movies do, and that's kill off the likable captains in interesting ways. Oh well.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2009
With a great cast and a great script, Besson's adaptation of the classic story is faithfully brought to life in what is, an unfairly underrated film.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2006
This amazing epic length tale of Joan of Arc requires patience and concentration. For those of you who like battle sense there are a fair few to enjoy. Historians, I?m sure you?ll find this film facsincating and to top it off an incredible performance from Milla Jovovich.
DragonEyeMorrison
DragonEyeMorrison

Super Reviewer

February 21, 2008
Go watch Dreye's version, if this doesn't confirm to anyone that Besson is a hack, nothing will.
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

January 20, 2008
Well known cast but the accents are poor, the battle scenes not convincing and the long dragged out scenes put me to sleep.
Tim S

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2007
Milla should be naked more.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2007
I really liked this one.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2007
I liked it and thought the cast did a great job. They really let you decide if she was really getting messages from God or if she was just nuts. The production value of the movie was great.
Beefy
Beefy

Super Reviewer

November 24, 2006
Underappreciated. Only derails when Dustin Hoffman shows up like a giant anachronism.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

March 30, 2013
Gritty and impassioned, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is a powerful historical epic from director Luc Besson. During England's occupation of France during the Hundred Years' War a young maiden named Joan, who claims to have received visions from God, petitions the Dauphin of France to give her an army to drive out the English. The film does an excellent job at showing the conflict within Joan as she's swept up in the fever of war but struggles to remain righteous. The violence of the film is brutal and quite graphic, giving a real authentic feel to the warfare of the time. And, the performances by Milla Jovovich and Dustin Hoffman are extraordinary. The score is also done well and really complements the film. The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is a thrilling and provocative biopic that provides new insight into a fascinating historical figure.
Sylvester K

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2012
It made it seems as if Joan of Arc is insane... But I love the battle scenes and monologues, it's a nice epic film.
Rodrigo R

Super Reviewer

November 23, 2011
It is an interesting movie with good battle scenes, and a story that I personally like it, but the constant allusions are upset and bad.
Matthew A

Super Reviewer

July 10, 2010
An interesting movie about a heroine in a war between the French and the English. Although there were several battle scenes in the movie, it didn't feel like an epic to me, but more like a drama (just like the Robin Hood remake).

Milla Jovovich shows a rather insane, but extremely determined, strong-willed and believable Joan of Arc. From what I've seen her in, this was perhaps her best effort so far.

There were a few good battle scenes, though I was hoping to see Joan of Arc fight a bit rather than just running and screaming to the troops. Also, the movie's ending wasn't really a surprise if you know the story of Joan of Arc. So the movie started to drag on a bit towards the end.

Overall an OK movie, but not as good as I thought it would be.
whosinthenews
whosinthenews

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2009
Lackluster pageantry, Dick Tracy style English villainy and mish-mash of nationalities aside, Besson's narrative emphasis is so broad in its sweep, and his use of religious symbolism so literal, that Joan of Arc is nothing more than an unattainably pious figure in an empty, victimless, medieval landscape. If there was any significant meaning or depth to the persona of Joan it certainly isn't seen in this glorified Renaissance fair, played over-zealously by Milla Jovovich. When in the final eight minutes we do see something resembling her human side it only feels tacked on and obligatory. It's as if to remind us (or the screenwriters reminding themselves) that she was not France's virgin Mary, but indeed a person living a life and trying to fight a war while remaining true to her beliefs.

Trivia: The French probably got their asses kicked for so long due in part to their bowl shaped haircuts, which I assume are historically accurate given their hideousness.
constanzaboutter
constanzaboutter

Super Reviewer

February 27, 2009
The production is extraordinary. Besson definitely has an eye for the epic. The horror and spectacle of medieval battle has never been re-created on film before with such terrible beauty. In fact, the whole movie comes wonderfully alive in its sweeping battle scenes.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2007
This film certainly isn't bad and the 2+ hours pass pretty quickly. The problem is that it's directed by a Frenchman. Now, in the hands of an American, the explosions may be bigger but at least the subject matter would be taken a bit more seriously, as this film is frequently hilarious. The battle scenes in particular are so light-hearted there's no real sense of triumph, not helped by the highly creative defences on the enemy castle that make it look like the French are trying to invade Disneyland. Luc Besson should stick to what he's best at: fantasy.
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