Joan of Arc

After Luc Besson’s awesome effort in the Fifth Element, one of my all-time favourite films, I was expecting a lot from Joan of Arc. In the US, as I just found out, it was titled The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and it stars Milla Jovovich as Joan, plus a few another noteworthies – Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway and John Malkovich. However, after hearing negative rumours about it, my enthusiasm waned to the point where I saved it for a rainy day, or at least a day where I was bored. That day was yesterday.

In retrospect, it proved a poor relief for boredom. The movie is very lengthy, clocking in at around three hours – a long stretch for even a really awesome movie. Normally, I really enjoy longer movies, because I think it gives directors a much better chance to expand on the plot. Unfortunately, Joan of Arc’s plot wasn’t really expanded, merely stretched.

Milla did a great job as portraying a character who truly believed herself to be a messenger from God. The scenes and settings were pretty impressive – some nice bloody battle scenes. It was just long, and sort of boring. Being a true story, of course, you have a pretty good idea what is going to happen – you can sit there and hope that she’s going to take over all of France as much as you want, but you just know what’s going to happen.

People critical or suspicious of religion will probably take particular note of some of the more theological themes in the movie. The most important of these is, of course, judging Joan from the perspective that she acted solely to pursue an agenda of revenge against the British for the brutal murder of her sister, and then tried to justify her actions by deluding herself into thinking that she was bringing God’s will to Earth. Some people may see this as the entire point of the movie, but I am but a simple person that wanted to see the English get driven out of France and some awesome hack and slash action.

Recommended, if you have nothing better to see. You know how its going to end, though. I’m not exactly a student of European history for that period, so I can’t comment on the authenticity of the story (and quite simply I’m too lazy to research it because the movie just didn’t spark enough interest), and thus I can’t recommend the movie from a historical point of view. There’s no particularly awesome battle scenes, or great lines, but its not too bad.

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