When it’s over, this is a mobster film, but not really – in the vein of Goodfellas, but with humor and less drama. The Manzoni family is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection plan, but fitting in with the locals can be murder, especially when rival mob families want them dead. This is Director/Writer Luc Besson’s take on dark comedy starring Robert Di Niro as head of the Manzoni family, Michelle Pfeiffer as the matriarch, and Tommy Lee Jones as the CIA agent on detail to protect the family. Young talents, Dianna Agron and John D'Leo, are the children brought up within the dysfunctional mob family. They give new meaning to the term “teen angst,” which as a viewing parent, you will either wish your teen is more like them or glad they are not. All the major characters are well cast, and they share the screen as an ensemble. Another aspect I like about the film is the violence, not because of the acts themselves, but rather, the purpose of those acts. Violence plays a huge role in The Family. It is not splashed across the screen or included for the sake of it, but instead, serves to reveal and build character. I get to know the family - Fred, Maggie, Belle, and Warren Blake - quickly based on their thoughts and acts of violence. I will not go into specific scenes, since this will take the fun out of the film should you decide to see it. I will say, however, that you will not see most of the violence coming, as it is carefully orchestrated by Besson. Interesting plot and decent location make the film watchable, but it is definitely the off-beat characters that make the film stand out from your typical mobster film.
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