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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 Greg Muskewitz

"Besson goes from 'Fifth Element' to 'Fifth Elementary'"
1 stars

I just now got back from this muddled mess, and for now this is only my initial reaction, but I'm pretty sure it finalizes my final thoughts as I am currently writing about it.

It's bad enough that this is the umpteenth version of the maitre'ds (or whatever she's called, obviously after all the other versions it STILL hasn't sunk in.) saga/tale/story/adventure, etc, and as with as much promise that stylistic director Luc Besson brings with it, "The Messenger" is simply horrible.

The movie takes forever to get started; within five minutes of the opening sequence, I felt drowze and *seriously* began to doze. The old lady who sat to the left of my date was snoring! Even more surprising, this had more walkouts from patrons, than the daily showing of "Happinness" I attended last year --and people HAD to pay for that!

Problems with the film start right away, with the titles they use to introduce the film. In its small Olde English-type font, it was hard enough to read, and considering myself a pretty quick reader, I found the titles to go by way too fast for myself to catch all over, let alone anyone who doesn't read as fast as I.

After I had shown up for the screening, I learned that it had a two and a half hour running time, and it felt long, very long, almost, but not quite as excruciatingly long as "Titanic," but definitely close within the range. Although there was a lot of filler time to be bored, there was a sense of engagement, mostly because of Milla Jovovich...but I'll get back to her later.

I missed who did the screenplay, whether it was Besson himself, or a collaboration with another, or a whole different person all together, but the storytelling was muddled, confounding, and totally unbalanced. Besson is a very talented director, between "La Femme Nikita" and one of my favorite films of '97, "The Fifth Element," and yes, his stylistic capabilities were evident here, they were consumed by the horrendousness of the rest. Besson helmed a project that he was not experienced enough for, his helming of such proved disasterous and amateurish. Everything felt so damned contrived, even the way they manipulated Jovovich's Joan into an often schitzofrenic and unlikable presence --which isn't to say that she wasn't good.

I like Jovovich, even in this, especially including the fact that you actually get to see her show off some (a lot) of acting skills. It was obvious she had a great physique and agility in "Element," but aside from some loopy dialogue on her part, she didn't have much to envelope there. She does here, but sometimes the filmmakers make her come across to psycho. ("I am the drum which God is beating on, beating and beating until it hurts my head," she screams pulling her hair and hitting herself like Annette Bening in "American Beauty.") I only hope she can come back with whatever upcoming projects she has lined up, and can show off in a good movie.

Dustin Hoffman is wasted, and surprisingly pretty bad himself. He was a screen nusance, un-needed, un-wanted, etc. Faye Dunaway was an intersted presence with her vericose vein popping prominently out of her forehead, half shaved like that of Divine in "Pink Flamingos," with her and her fellow whatevers looking like rejects from "Dune." There was a young actor who kinda reminded me of Skeet Ulrich, whom I didn't mind too much, but I was out of the theater before the credits ran so...And as for Malkovich, he was so much more interesting as himself in "Being..."

"The Messenger" was usually a nice film to look at; the cinematography was more than adequately used, but the film as a whole just completely makes you look over any good aspect it might have had. The production design was gorgeous, and composer Eric Serra scored a brilliant soundtrack of which I will most likely buy. It wouldn't surprise me if "The Messenger" is up for several technical awards, but nothing more, including Jovovich.

I'm really mixed about a "star rating" to give it here, because although for my newspapers I know I'll give it * 1/2, I only go to 4, whereas Bitchslap uses up to 5. Technically, it was okay, and I didn't mind Jovovich so much, but this was purely awful.

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originally posted: 11/10/99 19:51:43
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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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