Joan of Arc

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.

Release details

Duration: 158 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Andrew Birkin, Luc Besson
Cast: Milla Jovovich
John Malkovich
Faye Dunaway
Dustin Hoffman
Pascal Greggory
Vincent Cassel
Tchéky Karyo
Richard Ridings
Desmond Harrington
Timothy West
Timothy Bateson
Richard Leaf
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