Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Movie Review - The Family

The Family (2013)
Starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D'Leo, and Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by Luc Besson
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

After a promising opening half hour, the family in The Family begins to wear a little thin.  Robert De Niro is patriarch Giovanni Manzoni, a mob boss who squealed on members of his crime syndicate.  For the past several years, Giovanni has been traveling through Europe with his family under various aliases while being protected by FBI agents (led by a gruff Tommy Lee Jones).  Unfortunately, Manzoni -- who has now taken on the pseudonym of Fred Blake -- can't quite leave his mobster ways behind which forces him to have to uproot his family often whenever he reverts back to his old ways, gets angry, and kills someone.  His family -- wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), daughter Belle (Dianna Agron), and son Warren (John D'Leo) -- have toughened up because of this and are starting to pick up some of their family patriarch's ways of revenge.

As we get to know the Manzoni/Blake family, things are actually pretty promising in Luc Besson's film.  However, we soon realize that the folks that Manzoni ratted out a decade ago are on a manhunt for him.  This, unfortunately, is when the film starts to falter.  Rather surprisingly, when it aims for humor, the film succeeds, but the mob revenge plot is a huge failure, lacking any tension or emotional impact.

Michelle Pfeiffer is game as a mobster's moll providing quite a few laughs and young John D'Leo is a true standout as the tough, New York-accented teen who doesn't quite fit in with the kids in Normandy, France (the family's latest hometown).  Unfortunately, the performances aren't enough to breathe life into a plot that nearly put me to sleep.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+


  1. Agree, agree, agree. I don't know why I kept watching until the end. Especially as I don't have the pull of a blog to see a film through. It was probably the France aspect that kept me on. The houses and streets were entertaining enough.

  2. I didn't even feel like it made the most of its setting. I mean, that's where I was two years ago and it didn't do it justice. I kept hanging on in part because of that same thing -- I was there, will I see something I remember? -- and it was a let down in that regard as well. Oh, well...