The Family starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’ Leo and Tommy Lee Jones open in theaters today, September 13th 2013. This new crime film revolves around the lives of the Manzoni family who are under the witness protection program since they snitched on the mob. The family tries their best to abide by the rules and live normally in Normandy, France until their old ways catch up to them. Taking matters into their own hands, The Family then revert to their old habits which lead their former cronies to where they are. Check out the latest movie review for The Family below:
“The Family: A Worthy Film by Luc Besson
It’s been a potholed path that’s seen writer-director Luc Besson to this stage of his career – for every winner like “Léon: The Professional,” there’s been a debacle like “Lockout,” and for every “Taken,” a “Taken 2.” In recent years his directorial duties have largely been limited to animated fare in his native France, while his writing skills have been spent on various tepid actioners (the “Transporter” series among them). Consequently, a mob-centric black comedy with an American cast wasn’t what anyone was expecting from Besson circa 2013, but it’s here and it’s likely to find legions of fans – myself among them.
Robert De Niro headlines “The Family” as Giovanni Manzoni, a former mob boss living in witness protection with his dysfunctional – nay, psychotic – family in tow. A man who was once the king of Brooklyn, Giovanni now finds himself in sleepy Normandy, France, rebranded as the milquetoast Fred Blake, author, and saddled with handlers. Giovanni frequently bristles in the presence of his primary overseer, Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones), while trying and failing to shake his most violent impulses.
Giovanni’s wife, Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), and two children, Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo), each shoulder their own salacious desires, from the mischievous – Warren takes joy in subverting his new school’s social ladder in the most Costa Nostran way possible – to the vicious – Belle doesn’t suffer aggressive male suitors lightly. As Giovanni faces questions about his future and his new identity, the rest of his family becomes hung up on the past – a past that’s certainly worth an occasional glance over the shoulder.
Like Giovanni, Maggie and the kids constantly revert to their old habits. But while Giovanni sees a kind of twisted beauty in his own murderous instincts and longs to make peace with his legacy – through his new career as an author, of course – Maggie, Belle, and Warren all undergo mini identity crises. The results are both humorous and disturbing, particularly when the film picks up steam in its second and third acts.
But therein lies the rub. “The Family” is something of a slow starter, initially languishing in the ether between drama and comedy. The bent of Besson’s screenplay is immediately problematic – not instantly compelling and not exactly laugh-out-loud hilarious, either – stumbling over mafia clichés right out of the starting gate. The tone is hard to pinpoint, too, oscillating between screwball and dead-on serious. But once the actors are given some surprisingly well-drawn character work, the picture comes together and becomes an intriguing amalgam of mob movie tropes and European stylistic flourishes.”
Read the rest of the review at Cinemixtape.
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