The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
Released: October 18, 1999
If you like medieval (1420-1431) epic (141 min.) movies about a conquering peasant woman who knows the business end of a sword, then this movie is for you. England is having its way with France and young Joan (model Milla Jovovich) hears voices and sees visions that she interprets to mean that God wants her to lead the French armies against its enemies, but only after she has taken time out to find a catholic priest so she can have confession before battle. At first, the French soldiers are not too keen on following the lead of a "girl" but she inspires a few battle victories and the war rages on. She does not condone cursing during battle, however. Gotta have some discipline. "No cussing" is difficult for a brown, snaggled toothed soldier who is accustomed to hand to hand combat.
Joan deeply believes in her calling by God to be a "Messenger" and shares her revelations with the king to be John Malkovich, the Dauphin. As royalty goes, the Dauphin and then as King Charles, is foppish and ultimately unsupportive of Joan's ongoing mission to liberate France. It does not help Joan's cause that the King's mother in law is the very mouthy and influential Faye Dunaway who rises to an oscar caliber performance. Malkovich is skilled as always as the king, even though he is still "Being John Malkovich." Dustin Hoffman has a small part as The Conscience of Joan and his booming voice is unmistakable. Hoffman is Hoffman.
The battle scenes are spectacular. And heads will roll - literally. And arms and feet, too. Director Luc Besson does not spare the faint of heart. Blood rules. This is a pretty movie. Cinematography is outstanding. Music is foreboding and fun when needed. Costumes are a sure bet for nomination consideration.
Joan has many hair changes, but its the heresy charges that finally catch up to this gallant gal of God. Her final stake is fiery. Forgive me. Rock 'n Roll.