The Messenger - The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
Front Cover Actor Back Cover
Milla Jovovich Joan of Arc
John Malkovich Charles VII
Dustin Hoffman The Conscience
Faye Dunaway Yolande D'Aragon
Tchéky Karyo Dunois
Vincent Cassel Gilles de Rais
Pascal Greggory The Duke of Alençon
Richard Ridings La Hire
Desmond Harrington Aulon
Timothy West Pierre Cauchon
Rab Affleck Comrade
Stéphane Algoud Look Out
Edwin Apps Bishop
David Bailie English Judge
David Barber English Judge
Christian Barbier Captain
Timothy Bateson English Judge
David Begg Nobleman -- Rouen's Castle
Christian Bergner Captain
Andrew Birkin Talbot
Dominic Borrelli English Judge
John Boswall Old Priest
Matthew Bowyer The Bludgeoned French Soldier
Paul Brooke Domremy's Priest
Bruce Byron Joan's Father
Charles Cork Vaucouleur's Priest
Patrice Cossoneau Captain
Tony D'Amario Compiegne's Mayor
Daniel Daujon Church's Peer -- Coronation
Tonio Descanvelle Xaintrailles
Philippe Du Janerand Dijon
Sylviane Duparc Mary of Anjou's Lady's Companion
Barbara Elbourn The Aunt
Christian Erickson La Trémoïlle
Tara Flanagan Woman -- Rouen's Castle
Bruno Flender Poitiers' Inquisitor
Serge Fournier Church's Peer -- Coronation
David Gant The Duke of Bedford
Sid Golder Cell's Guard
Jessica Goldman Duchess of Bedford's Lady's Companion
Tcheky Karyo
Movie Details
Genre Drama; War
Director Luc Besson
Producer Patrice Ledoux; Luc Besson; Andrew Birkin
Writer Luc Besson; Andrew Birkin
Studio Columbia / TriStar
Language English
Audience Rating R (Restricted)
Running Time 160 mins
Country France
Color Color
1999 may be remembered as the year of Joan of Arc: NBC created a miniseries in her honor, Carl Dreyer's long-lost The Passion of Joan of Arc was discovered in a mental hospital, and Facets re-released Jacques Rivette's Joan the Maid. Luc Besson rounds out the corpus with his stylistic and vaguely heretical grand-scale feature, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.

Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element) challenges established notions about the Maid of Orleans as he creates a decidedly more human heroine than have previous biopics. The story line is the same--a young, illiterate peasant girl convinces the dauphin of France to give her an army, and she leads them to victory in Orleans, only to be burned at the stake for heresy--but Milla Jovovich, in the title role, is a woman possessed. Her influences are less than heavenly; as a child she witnesses the murder of her sister by the English, a death caused by the sister's giving her hiding place to young Joan, which causes an intense desire for revenge. Yes, God still speaks to Joan, but even this is undermined, as Dustin Hoffman, playing The Conscience, questions her motives.

Cinematically, The Messenger is stunning, with fantastical sequences of Joan in communication with higher powers. Yet the graphic violence (scenes include random decapitation and a dog gnawing on a body); the uneven accents, which make it difficult to tell who is fighting on which side; and the rewriting of lore may make this version of Joan of Arc appeal only to Besson fans. Jovovich is convincing, and while at times the film may drag (at times you wish they'd hurry up and burn her), it is a remarkable and insightful retelling of a well-known piece of history. --Jenny Brown

Personal Details
Seen It Yes
Index 88
In Collection Yes
Owner David Cowley
Product Details
Format DVD
Region Region 1
Screen Ratio Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Layers Single side, Dual layer
UPC 043396046078
Chapters 28
Release Date 2001
Subtitles English
Packaging Keep Case
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Extra Features
Color Closed-captioned Widescreen Dolby
Internet Movie Database