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The messenger: the story of Joan of Arc

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In 1429, a 16-year-old girl from a remote French village stood before the world and announced she would defeat the globe's greatest army to liberate her country. It began as a small voice in the heart of a simple maiden... but as the voice grew stronger, rulers were drawn to listen, armies were empowered to fight and her countrymen were inspired to believe.

From internationally acclaimed director Luc Besson comes the story of Joan of Arc (Milla Jovovich), the saint who followed her own path to free her people and in doing so, changed the course of history.

Also starring Faye Dunaway as Yolande D'Aragon, Dustin Hoffman as the conscience and John Malkovich as King Charles VII.

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Epicness. But given the fact that this is a story about a proto-saint who leads a nation's army in successfully routing its invaders, you'd be surprised if it wasn't.

Milla Jovovich makes a big left turn from her role in The fifth element and comes out on top as a peasant girl who became her country's greatest General. She is fully schizo, sometimes in control of herself, oft times not, but always with a vulnerability that mere armour cannot defend. It's unfortunately rare that a character is so exposed on the screen: fears, doubts, foibles... these are the things that keep you coming back for more.

John Malkovich is John (is it just me or does he get more cross-eyed as time goes by?), which is to say he gives a good performance but he's still John. Faye Dunaway is just great as Charles's scheming mother in law: motherly, masterly and mean. She brings a subtlety to her scenes that only a well-seasoned actor can. I can only speculate on the casting of Dustin Hoffman. there are many other actors who could play God better even though they don't have his box office pull.


Luc Besson sometimes gets carried away with his own performance as director but the vast majority of The messenger: the story of Joan of Arc is just great. The battles are hot, sweaty, bloody and chaotic. The visions are wild, mysterious, entrancing and entirely real: sometimes you aren't even sure whether you're seeing faith or reality. What's best about it all, though, is the dirty, mucky reality of the times. Blood stains the trummelled earth like tears from Heaven.


While The messenger: the story of Joan of Arc clocks in at nearly 3 hours, it isn't particularly long. I have a bad back and a second-rate bladder and had no problems sitting still for the duration (apart from some guy who had his feet on the chair back on which I wanted to put my arm: bastard). All the major points of Joan's life are brought forth, as well as a heap of historical stuff (have you ever really seen a battle between knights and a castle?), all of which is entertaining and particularly cool.

If you see this film you will enjoy it, so do.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level violence, rape, god, politics)

Surveillance time

160 minutes

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental: 23 August 2000

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