Movie Review: The Family
Once a wiseguy always a wiseguy, even when you are in the witness protection program. In The Family, Robert DeNiro plays Giovanni aka Fred Blake along with his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) daughter Belle (Dianna Agron) and son Warren (John D’Leo) are once again being moved to a new location. Not because the mob found them but because they can’t stay out of trouble. It doesn’t take long before they are beating up, blowing up and blackmailing various residents.
Their long suffering handler Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) is ready to toss them into the wind. He’s sure Fred has been up to very bad things and warns them that this stop in Normandy might be it. Fred it turns out in his spare time has been writing his memoirs. Nobody is happy about this. While Fred and family try to stay under the radar, the mob is still looking all over France for the family, including killing families who they think might be them.
If you are a fan of DeNiro this will be right up your alley. The real highlight are the kids. Warren is a forger and Belle who puts out an aura of innocence and grace is hardcore and can beat somebody down. The two get a fair amount of screen time. Belle’s fascination with the teacher’s assistant, the local boys fawning over her even though she’s not interested. The fact that she’s clearly her father’s child and can take care of herself but can still fall for a guy. Warren knows what the family business is. He’s the 4th generation from a family of gangsters and criminals he figures even with witness protection its in his jeans. He’s not pretentious he’s crafty. The still do things The Family way.
Fred and Agent Stansfield are friends, the kind that aren’t happy they are friends. They have a working chemistry so this casting is rather spot on. Even with the explosions this is more of a dramedy. The Family is an adapted screenplay from Tonino Benacquista’s comedic action novel Malavita. The interactions with the locals are the best chances for the funny bits but also more times for Fred and The Family to beat the shit out of someone. There’s a hilarious in movie joke about Goodfellas. Vincent Pastore also stars as one of the mobsters still on the lookout for the family and they do finally find them which makes for a climatic 3rd act.
I rather enjoyed this. I already like all the actors involved and the story works. While the story is a big reason the casting really holds this together. I give it a matinee. Its going to pull in any mobster fans, DeNiro and Scorsese (who produced it) fans. That’s not a bad thing, they will enjoy it but they probably don’t like the title.
My Rating: Matinee
Directors: Luc Besson
Studio: Relativity Media
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Run time: 111 minutes
MPAA Rating: R