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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Adventure . Drama . Action . History . War . Biography

In 1429 a teenage girl from a remote French village stood before her King with a message she claimed came from God; that she would defeat the world's greatest army and liberate her country from its political and religious turmoil. Following her mission to reclaim god's dimished kingdom - through her amazing victories until her violent and untimely death.

Actors: Milla Jovovich , Dustin Hoffman , Faye Dunaway , John Malkovich , Vincent Cassel , Tchéky Karyo , Rab Affleck , Stéphane Algoud , Edwin Apps , David Bailie
Directors: Luc Besson
Country: FRANCE
Release: 1999-10-18
More Info:
  • Michael Wilmington

    Such a sour, mindlessly inflated experience that seeing it may temporarily put you off historical movies.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • F. X. Feeney

    The Messenger may be a caricature of theology, but then Besson is a cartoonist of genius.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Matt Kelsey

    If all history lessons were this stylish, elementary school would have been a better place.

    TNT RoughCut Full Review
  • William Arnold

    The horror and spectacle of medieval battle has never been re-created on film before with such ghastly beauty.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Richard Schickel

    A lively, nutty film, one full of clumsy, clanging battles filmed by the gifted, eccentric Besson with bloody brio.

    Time Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Blends great cinematic energy with an awkwardly mixed multinational cast and aggressively over-modernized dialogue.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Sean Means

    While The Messenger feeds our appetite for visual panache, it starves the soul. Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The lack of a plausible leading lady is enough to sink what is otherwise an eye-catching, although heavily '90s-style, telling of one of history's most frequently filmed stories.

    Variety Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Inexplicable as it is, the Joan of Arc story encourages contemplation of ourselves as a species. The Messenger is more apt to prompt meditation on the nature of show business.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Michael Atkinson

    It's Besson's stunning visual fluency that takes center stage, and in the end, that's not quite enough.

    Mr. Showbiz Full Review
  • Desmond Ryan

    You might be occasionally dumbfounded by The Messenger, but you won't be bored.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The story's more sober elements are regularly leavened by hip visual flourishes and even some quiet comedy.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    Never was the case for psychotropic medication more acute than in Jovovich's performance.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Lisa Alspector

    Luc Besson--and Andrew Birkin wrote the pandering, adolescent screenplay for this pseudosubversive hagiography, and nearly every scene screams out its sensationalist intent, though few actually achieve the status of spectacle.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Janet Maslin

    Though Ms. Jovovich's performance dominates the film, she remains pedestrian and underwhelming.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Brunette

    It's all overblown: too much music, too much cutting, too much zooming, too much computerized special effects, too much clanky symbolism that never works. Full Review
  • Jonathan Foreman

    Besson is unable to weave the comic scenes together with the serious gory ones, so both seem increasingly jarring and unbelievable.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Has a three-way split personality, which happily includes an action-packed middle to ease the pain of its early protracted exposition and later action so slow that you'll be asking "Gotta match?" to the person next to you.

    USA Today Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Besson's account of the Maid of Orleans presents itself as a celebration of a martyr's faith but shows more interest in the violence and hatred that surrounded her life.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Charles Taylor

    A truly vulgar movie. Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    By casting model-turned-actress (and his now-estranged wife) Milla Jovovich as the Maid of Orleans, Besson gives us an over-amped spectacle with an annoying, sometimes ridiculous cipher at its heart.

    San Francisco Examiner Full Review
  • John Hartl

    It's a painful sit from beginning to end. Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    The movie is a mess: a gassy costume epic with nobody at the center.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Bresson's vision of the miseries of 15th century life -- which was undeniably nasty, brutish and short -- comes dangerously close to the comic squalor of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    May be the grandest looking film ever made on the subject, but it lacks the most essential element of all: passion.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Andy Klein

    The ludicrous casting of Hoffman is just the fatal bit of kindling on this Joan's fire.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Eliza Truitt

    Milla Jovovich is not quite up to the task of playing a nuanced and thoughtful Joan.

    Slate Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    There's precious little in Luc Besson's solemnly inflated, battle-weary historical epic.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Besson loves his violence almost as much as he loves his leading lady.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    Jovovich, Besson's 24-year-old ex-wife, hasn't a clue how to project shadings, interior emotions, character or personality. Everything's in a full screech.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Jay Carr

    A lot of striking pictures in this would-be feminist "Braveheart," but a film that's pretty flat and earthbound because of the limitations of the figure at its center.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Edward Guthmann

    Isn't some sober history lesson that bogs down in long speeches and tedious facts. It's about style, it's about fashion, it's about rock 'n' roll busting out in medieval France.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
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