The first thing you should know about "Joan Of Arc" is that it's long - three hours long, actually. The second thing is that while the movie's first half is very enjoyable, the second half is far less interesting. As you might guess, the story deals with events centered around England's invasion of France; as the English slowly move their armies into the center of France, a young peasant girl named Jeanne awakens in a field to find a sword lying next to her. As she makes her way back to her village, she's just in time to watch her mother being brutally murdered by a sadistic English captain.
Joan turns to God, and receives what she believes is a message to lead her people into battle against the English invaders. With the assistance of Charles, Dauphin of France, she asks for an army, and sallies forth to do battle. The events that follow, as well as those leading up to her subsequent death by burning, make for gripping entertainment - although the movie would have done well if it had been one hour shorter.
Directed by Luc Besson, "Joan Of Arc" also has a stellar performance by the unknown Milla Jovovich, as well as a very enjoyable cameo by Dustin Hoffman as The Conscience.This article was first published on 05 Apr 2000.