The movie The Family is not perfect despite Mr. De Niro’s presence, but it does seem like the cast had fun in the process, with over the top scenes hitting the audience every few seconds. Whether it’s Michelle Pfeiffer blowing up a grocery store, the son creating a mini-mafia within the school, or the daughter (Dianna Agron of Glee fame) sadistically beating up anybody who crosses her, the family definitely does act like a mob family. Unfortunately, Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t have much screen time, which is sad since him and De Niro work off of each other incredibly well. Their scenes consist mostly of talking about De Niro’s past, which actually turns out to be interesting and would have filled its own movie.
The Family (known as Malavita in France) is about a former mafia family being once again relocated in the witness protection program. With Robert De Niro leading a solid cast, he goes back to his old-school gangster-noir roots, with a comedic twist. The film simply follows the family living and trying to adapt to life in Normandy, France, while extracting their own forms of mafia-vengeance on anyone who messes with them. All the while Tommy Lee Jones, as their FBI protector, tries to control the chaos. Eventually De Niro’s past comes back with an amazing insert from the Gorillaz Clint Eastwood song, leading to a shootout to close out the movie.
The movie is shot beautifully, taking advantage of natural sunlight and letting the story flow, even with little subplots here and there. It’s the kind of film that you don’t need to know the full backstory of each character/event, and what they do reveal is plenty.
The editing is well done, not resorting to shaking the camera during the action scenes, and the characters actually have personality, except the dog, who does little to nothing during the entire movie. All in all, it’s a nice way to spend two hours, so long as you’re at least 17 years old.
Final Rating: 8/10
Trailers Before the Film:
The trailers are a story of their own. Two new Christian Bale movies are coming, neither of which does he “look like a cop”. American Hustle and Out of the Furnace are unique films with their own all-star cast. But the best trailer out of the bunch was Grudge Match, showing a time when Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro were intense boxing rivals, but only had two matches, each one winning a match. The tie breaker match never happened until 30 years later, in modern day when Stallone’s character (who’s not Rocky Balboa) and De Niro’s character (who’s not Jake LaMotta) meet up again. They decide to have the match, despite both being way past their prime. Grudge Match hits theaters in 2014.