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for a movie with such deep religious and spiritual undertones , it is surprising to find the messenger : the story of joan of arc such an ungodly mess .
in the early to mid 1400's , there was little in the way of spiritual light to be found shining from the heart of a man or woman .
the church was a dismally dark and oppressive place .
france was involved in " the hundred years war " against england .
there was no strong political leadership in the country .
morale was low , there being little hope for the future .
it was within this setting that a young french girl began hearing " voices " and seeing " visions . "
convinced that these were messages from god , she brazenly demanded to see the dauphin in order to deliver the message directly to him .
the message : if he would give her an army to command , she would deliver to him the crown .
he does . . .
and she does .
then , once seated on the throne , he abandons her to her english captors .
director luc besson ( the fifth element ) may have co-wrote the script but he never appeared to have a proper handle on the material .
the inconsistencies of the cast , the confusing blur of the violent battle scenes , the inappropriate musical score , and the lack of a vibrant life force at the center of the film adds up to a largely disappointing end product which is oftentimes unintentionally laughable .
his biggest miscue was to cast his wife , milla jovovich ( the fifth element ) in the title role .
ms . jovovich , looks spectacular as joan , clad in battle armor , astride a similarly protected horse .
if looks were enough to fully convey a character , she would have been brilliant .
since it isn't , she tried ( and failed ) to act the part .
her joan is unbalanced , " inspiring " the troops merely by screaming stridently and waving her banner or sword over her head like a woman possessed .
john malkovich ( being john malkovich ) fares a bit better as the dauphin , who joan would see on the throne as charles vii .
an easily manipulated man , his weakness of character foreshadows the betrayal of joan which would lead to her death .
faye dunaway ( the thomas crown affair ) gives a strong performance in minimal screen time as the dauphin's mother-in-law and chief advisor .
the army under joan's command are comprised of comical figures , more stooges than soldiers .
the one exception would be tcheky karyo ( la femme nikita ) as dunois , the man who was leading the attack prior to joan's arrival .
trying to plan a systematic campaign , he sees his leadership authority negated by joan's insistence on following her " visions . "
dustin hoffman ( sphere ) has a small inhuman role as joan's conscience which begins speaking to her while awaiting trial .
dressed like cloaked monk , he leads her to doubt herself and her " revelations . "
as well she should .
scriptures do speak of revelation .
god , via his gift of holy spirit , is able to communicate to men .
three of the nine manifestations of holy spirit listed in 1 corinthians 12 deal with receiving revelation .
they are : word of knowledge , word of wisdom , and discerning of spirits .
even the scriptures themselves are a result of god giving revelation to his " holy men . . .
who spake as they were moved by holy spirit ( i . e .
by revelation . ) "
but the scriptures also caution us :
" beloved , believe not every spirit , but try the spirits whether they are of god : because many false prophets are gone out into the world . "
1 john 4 : 1 [kjv]
joan's end , ( being burned at the stake at the age of 19 ) , the frenzy ( mob rule ) and blood lust her inspiration wrought , and the death , pain , or suffering which followed her campaign all point to a devilish influence rather than a godly one .
while her conviction and intense believing remains an admirable quality , she was , as others have been before and since , misled by the spiritual master of deception .
as a messenger , she was quite effective .
she was just confused as to whose message she was carrying .