This take on the angelic upstart again proves that Besson is incapable of melting substance into style. His Joan (Jovovich) is a preposterous creature, a peasant with a cut-glass accent. Cassel, as a grizzled military leader, performs like a man with his mind on other matters, while Malkovich, as the spoilt Dauphin, simply mugs. That said, a few things - like Joan's blood-bolted visions - do work. She's haunted by a wretchedly pious young man (Leaf), a frail beauty except for his grotesque joke shop eyes. Hoffman is also surprisingly bearable as Joan's hooded, whispery-voiced 'conscience'. His scepticism may strip away the film's potential for mystery, but at least he presents some sort of stick against which to measure Joan. Trying to upgrade this sword 'n' sorcery epic, Besson has reduced myth to delusional fantasy. The story only rings true when Joan is exposed as mad and friendless - as soon as we're asked to believe she's politically dangerous, the whole edifice collapses.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Andrew Birkin, Luc Besson|