Joan of Arc (1999)    2 Stars


Joan of Arc (1999)
Joan of Arc (1999)


Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Rab Affleck

Synopsis: A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.





Considering how badly Joan of Arc starts – horribly pretentious and flashy direction, symbolic wolves running through a forest, beautiful young girl running through endless fields of flowers and proclaiming that everything is wonderful – I’m surprised by how much I eventually came to enjoy this film (although it is by no means a great movie).

That Joan’s sister was raped after being pinned to a door by the sword found by her little sister is questionable to say the least. The scene seems unnecessary, and a poor device to cast doubt on whether the voices she heard were from God, or simply a mental state caused by the horror she witnessed as an over-zealously religious child.

Although Milla Jovovich (A Perfect Getaway) won a Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for this role, I actually believe her performance is highly commendable. No shrinking violet would have led an army to victory, only a highly-driven and domineering character would have been capable of inspiring such deeds. Equally, being touched by God (or horror) would also make an impression on a teenage girl’s character. The fact is, Jovovich’s role in this movie isn’t to be liked but is meant to convey something of the energy and zeal that must have driven such an inspirational figure. Jovovich captures this character perfectly, and portrays with confidence and skill the doubts Joan experiences upon her incarceration.

The pace of the movie slows considerably once Joan is captured by the Burgundians and English (who, sadly, all talk and behave like football hooligans), which is a shame. The battle scenes that dominate the first half of the film are highly effective, and are accompanied by a superb score.

All in all, well worth viewing.

(Reviewed 1st March 2002)

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