Writer: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo (Screenplay) Tonino Benacquista (Book)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo
Plot: The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the Witness Protection Program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging, as their old habits die hard.
Tagline – Some call it organized crime. Others call it family.
Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Fun Twist on the Mafia Movie
Story: The Family starts when the Manzoni family head into witness protection in Normandy, France, under the names, Fred (De Niro), Maggie (Pfeiffer), Belle (Agron) and Warren (D’Leo) where they must start new lives. The problem the family have, is that they keep getting themselves into troubles with their violent behaviour, which sees Robert Stansfield (Jones) needing to keep moving them around.
The family are also being hunted down by Fred’s former boss, who is the reason why he has gone into hiding which will see the family needing to improve their behaviour just to survive.
Thoughts on The Family
Characters – Fred Blake is a former Mafia leader that has gone into hiding after taking a deal, he is trying to remain calm for the most part, but his violent tendencies take over whenever things are not going his way, while he tries to write his memoirs. Maggie is the wife that has gotten used to the lifestyle, now she has got just as a dark side towards people that upset her. She is turning to religion for answers in her life once again. Belle and Warren are the teenage children that use their skills to stay ahead in school even if it means they show their own violent side too. Robert Stansfield is the agent that is trying to keep the family away from the spotlight, finding it more difficult because of their actions.
Performances – Robert De Niro gets to poke fun at the idea that he was famous for his gangster roles and now needs to be put in a retirement age, where he is strict, smart and able to stay ahead of the game. Michelle Pfeiffer brings us the frustrated housewife that wants more normality in her life. Both Dianna Agron and John D’Leo bring us strong teenage character performances. Tommy Lee Jones is great too as an FBI agent that is struggling to keep the lid on everything.
Story – The story follows a former Mafia family that have gone into hiding after giving up other members of the family to the authorities, the problem with the family, is that they are too violent and often bring attention to themselves, as they are still being hunted down. The idea that a Mafia family is living in the shadows only they can’t stay out of trouble, does feel original in how everything is executed. The number of times we have seen a Mafia story end with ‘they are not in the witness protection program’ without following the life they end up living. This almost feels like the next chapter that we have never gotten before because they will still be wanted for their action. Each of the family members does get their own issues to deal with too which makes them feel like real people too.
Comedy/Crime – The comedy in the film comes from just seeing how the criminal fan acts once they are meant to be out of the criminal life, it does create laughs through the film.
Settings – The film is set in a small Normandy village which shows the new life the family must adapt to after the life in New York City.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice spin on the Mafia film, it gets plenty of laughs when it needs it, while trying to show the world could still be looking for them.
Overall: Fun twist.