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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.02%
Worth A Look25.53%
Average: 9.57%
Pretty Bad: 22.34%
Total Crap25.53%

5 reviews, 64 user ratings

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Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
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by Erik Childress

"Hands Down the Worst Performance of the Year"
1 stars

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (* ½) – Legend has it that Joan of Arc saw visions. Visions of God. Visions of her destiny. Well, watching the latest adaptation of the popular tale, I had visions too. But they were visions of other movies. Visions of better movies. Joan may or may not have been aware of what her visions were, but my visions were the only thing I could cling onto to avoid going crazy while watching this catapult crash of a movie.

I knew this production was in trouble the minute I saw the first teaser for this film last summer, announcing Kate Moss’ stunt double, Milla Jovovich as Joan of Arc. Were they kidding? I couldn’t believe Sony pictures greenlighted this expensive epic with Luc Besson’s new wife in the lead. Did people in Hollywood not learn from Cutthroat Island? I didn’t think it was possible for Besson, the director who gave us both the enormously entertaining La Femme Nikita and The Professional (a.k.a. Leon), to create a more wretched mess than the pseudo sci-fi/comedy that was The Fifth Element. But he has. What late previews suggested was a female version of Braveheart has turned into the film equivalent of “I swear to you my wife can act if you give her the chance.” Well, she can’t. Milla Jovovich plays Joan like a recovering crack addict trying to come down from a dose of Ritalin. What proved to work for Hilary Swank (The Next Karate Kid) in Boy’s Don’t Cry can’t strike twice for what easily could be considered the worst performance of the decade. I have never, ever, in my entire history of filmgoing witnessed an audience laugh so loudly at a single performance. I dare you not to laugh at the first time she charges a battlefield and screams. I have yet to see the CBS miniseries (which is now on video), but the actress who portrayed Joan in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure had more credibility as far as I’m concerned. The film, which is divided into the first act (the visions), the second act (the battles), the third act (the trial), should at least be mildly entertaining during the battles act. But, other than some nice beheadings and some cool Raiders of the Lost Ark-like “large ball” pummelings, the battle scenes are shot too claustrophobically to be interesting or exciting. They even jump cut to the end of one, apparently, gruesome battle that ends up looking like a scene out of Dead Alive. Hence, another vision of a much better movie. Just check out the scene where Joan first enters the domain of John Malkovich. I kept thinking of Luke Skywalker’s first return to Tatooine after finally becoming a Jedi. I kept expecting to hear the laugh of Jabba the Hutt. But, the one moment that truly took me out of the film for good was the English negotiator responding to demands by screaming across the battlefield – “Go F!@* yourself!!!” I’d like to find a word origin book that clearly states, once and for all, when that word was first spoken. But, back to other aspects of this production. Faye Dunaway, looking like one of the witch characters in Dune, is alright, but I couldn’t concentrate on her performance as much as I would have liked to because the makeup people provided her with a large blue vein running down her forehead, one which would make Dirk Diggler jealous. John Malkovich seems to still have John Cusack in his head during this film, although the script gives him nothing to work with. Intriguingly enough, I kind of enjoyed Dustin Hoffman’s performance as The Conscience/God/Satan/Obi-Wan Kenobi, if only because at his entrance at about the 105-minute mark, I was so starved that it was refreshing to see an actual actor up on the screen.
As my plans for the evening we’re cutting close, as I wanted to see a second movie that was starting any minute, it would seem that nothing would keep me in my seat long enough to stay around for the film’s conclusion, with the exception of my unending desire to finally see Milla Jovovich, I mean Joan, burned at the stake. It was almost worth it, until I remembered that a better movie, any movie was waiting for me as I bolted faster from the theater than anything since Sense and Sensibility.

The history of this film could make any movie lover frustrated. Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break, Strange Days) wanted to do a Joan of Arc film. She got Luc Besson to help with the financing and she wanted to cast Claire Danes. Well, Luc, in his ever-expanding methods to continue getting laid, said he wanted Milla and that was the end of Miss Bigelow (a.k.a. Wife #3 of James Cameron). In all fairness to Luc, I believe Claire Danes wanted nothing to do with the role of Joan because the script didn’t contain enough crying scenes for her. In all fairness to Miss Danes, the script did not call for her to cry, because it was meant for the audience to cry – for having spent nearly two and a half hours watching this piece of crap.

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originally posted: 02/16/00 08:57:19
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User Comments

6/26/08 The Mighty Smiter French/english translation, Luc Besson = Large BullShit 2 stars
10/25/07 Moviegoods Great movie, great portrayal of political & religious intrigue intertwined in a time of war 5 stars
7/11/07 madellaine it a very awsome movie.... 5 stars
3/11/07 Roy F. Moore Insulting, blasphemous crap. Disgraceful. 1 stars
10/12/06 Tiffany Page The movie was in deep emotion and the history I admire Milla's movies she is talented. 5 stars
7/11/06 mike b boring, too long 1 stars
8/17/05 ES the movie started out great but goes terrible so fast they couldn't burn her fast enough 2 stars
4/26/05 tatum Anti-British, over the top, and waaay too campy 3 stars
9/11/04 Michele Labo Great Movie 5 stars
8/16/04 Rusty Klichowicz Underrated. I loved. Milla will you marry me? 5 stars
5/04/04 Whatevr Worst biography movie ever 1 stars
3/25/04 john interessting take on Joan of Arc - good script and decent action 4 stars
1/18/04 Count Phisto "Joan of Arc": the best blaxploitation slasher since "Shawshank Redemption"! You heard me! 1 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Good action sequences, but overlength and mediocre performances weigh it down. 3 stars
1/09/04 frank Jovovich is absolutely ridiculous as joan of arc. I love it. 5 stars
10/30/03 Caiphn I liked the movie, however not an avid movie goer went in without labels for the cast. 4 stars
10/26/03 Monster W. Kung Utter crap. 1 stars
7/03/03 Lush Mildly entertaining but completely devoid of artisitc merit and Jovovich is aweful. 2 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Underrated epic masterpice. Jovovich is perfect as Joan. 5 stars
2/05/03 TheChronic good movie 4 stars
12/30/02 Ricky This Movie was great and how the hell can you say Milla can't act? 4 stars
10/18/02 Howard Parr They got paid for this? Besson shamed his own country. 1 stars
6/28/02 Zefram Mann Don't listen to the crap about Jovovich's acting. Her portrayal was of a nut, not a saint. 4 stars
4/29/02 Jenny Tullwartrz Might be accurate if Joan of Arc had PMS. 2 stars
2/02/02 Andrew Carden Nothing Like The Books About Her. Very Long and Unlikeable. 1 stars
12/05/01 John A. Olore Joan's last words: "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" Milla's last words: "Egoiste! Egoiste! Egoiste!" 2 stars
6/17/01 Tiana Watching it sooner is better than later 5 stars
6/10/01 amir pakdel i just cried when the film finished 5 stars
5/08/01 mika total crap 1 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Worst actress award goes to Milla - Take some Valiums!!! 1 stars
2/03/01 JOE BOB NOTHING 4 stars
12/25/00 Mitja Podgajski Not bad.. but... too religious... but the end rox! 4 stars
12/13/00 Crystal This movie tried to be overly 90's and it killed it! 2 stars
12/10/00 koinshaku A lot like Braveheart, but with more truth to it. 4 stars
11/20/00 Melissa an excellent film milla is great !!! 5 stars
8/28/00 Loraine BInce It's a great and dramatic movie 5 stars
7/13/00 Tom Milla was good. 4 stars
4/28/00 The Bomb 69 interesting interpretation; rape scene was sick 4 stars
3/26/00 DKK A very strong movie about Christian faith 5 stars
2/11/00 k.tomkowski Well worth a look, though Joan's sister has never been raped. 4 stars
2/08/00 Steve Horan I've always loved Joan of Arc movies! This one is no exception! 5 stars
2/08/00 Tom Jackson Jovovich and the battle scenes are excellent, but it loses drive towards the end. 4 stars
1/20/00 Andy Warth Totally recomended!!! 4 stars
1/14/00 k.tomkowski Joan's sister was not raped, and certainly not by the English. Too far a manipulation 3 stars
1/10/00 Howie Kinda weird. But rated AWESOME for Jovovich's acting. 5 stars
12/20/99 Lisette This movie could've been a lot better..... 3 stars
12/19/99 Dave Sweetman so-so 3 stars
12/13/99 Lame-Oh Joan as a rabid lady?! Weak! The movie that really sucked was Wild Wild West. 1 stars
12/12/99 Obi Wan I loved it! But she was made to look like an insane woman when she was a great leader! 4 stars
12/02/99 Pope Gonzo XIII Milla Jovovich's sincerity saves this film and brings a soul to it's vast imagery. 4 stars
11/28/99 Chet Patel Too long, her visions only added chaos to the story and her screaming was annoying. 2 stars
11/27/99 Lynnaea Beginning slow, ending is better. Good psychology, riveting in parts, confusing in others. 4 stars
11/27/99 Kevin Cho - Movie Junkie With better dialogue AND better editing, this movie would have been great. Very stirring. 4 stars
11/18/99 Eric This is no BRAVEHEART or HENRY THE 5TH - Pathetic portrayal of Joan as a mad woman 2 stars
11/16/99 Joe Brilliant rethink - hits you in the face - doesn't sentimentalise 5 stars
11/16/99 Adam A disappointment, but worth it to look at Milla. 3 stars
11/16/99 Richard Derksen Braveheart with an insanely beautiful woman. Not enough insights provided. 3 stars
11/15/99 Max Kline GARBAGE!!!! The only film that sucked more was Phantom Menace! 1 stars
11/14/99 furtively Gorgeous visually, just a little slow 4 stars
11/14/99 Michael MOTHERFUCKER Ivins Brilliancy from Jovovich & Hoffman & good storytelling cure a story that I always hated 5 stars
11/14/99 MrShowbiz Besson's most visually impressive work to date. 3 stars
11/13/99 ruth ankeny Not worth it; questionably accurate; silly dialogue; too much gore 2 stars
11/13/99 George Nedelchev 3 different films in one 3 stars
11/08/99 Max Kline This is yet another stupid film from the talentless Besson. Flashy,empty,hollow. 1 stars
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  12-Nov-1999 (R)



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