plenty of realism and technique on display here, but what makes Besson
think that a film needs about 45 minutes of realistically grisly and
chaotic 15th century battles, where we viewers can't tell which side
the soldiers belong to, and where we can't find an emotional anchor
because we don't know who is who? I hit the FF button constantly. In
fact, I probably watched the entire movie in about 30 minutes, because
I just forwarded through the battle scenes until the plot stasis
dissolved and something else happened.
The movie shifts back
in forth in its interpretation of Joan. Was she simply a lunatic? Were
her successes just accidents, as some of the military men claimed? Was
she ever believed, or did everyone always realize she was loony, but
decide to exploit her until she was no longer useful. Milla portrays
Joan as blatantly over-the-edge, so convinced that she is God's
messenger that she will brook no disagreement with her positions, no
matter how minor, since such is disagreement with God.
DVD info from Amazon.
Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1
HBO "first look" featurette
extended international version, with 10
representation, everyone was glad to be rid of her when the torch was
lit. As the viewer you think, as a rational man would have thought at
the time, "Maybe she was railroaded on the heresy charges, but
thank God I don't have to listen to her any more." I would have
lit the fire myself if I could have reached through the screen. The
interpretation can't be blamed entirely on Milla. After all, the
director let her do it that way, so they must have created it jointly.
Is it an awful movie on the level
with Manos, The Hands of Fate? No, of course not. Besson is not
capable of making such a poor film, any more than Spielberg is. But
this is just about the worst film a great director could possibly
make. The dialogue is pretentious, often laughable. The battle scenes
are confusing and go on forever. Milla sounds like she is rallying the
crowds at a California shopping mall.
General consensus: slightly less than two
and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4,
summary. 28% positive reviews, only 14% from the
- With their
votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters
score it 6.3/10, Apollo users 54/100
- With their
dollars ... it took in $14 million domestic on a $55
million budget, despite a 2100 screen roll-out.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, I say C-. Pretentious, confusing, uninvolving
historical epic. Barely watchable, if at all.