Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Family United

The Family is a dark comedy mob film by Luc Besson. The celebrated French writer/director, known for both his action movies and his more comedic work is in top form here. I have to say off the bat that I usually can’t stand mob movies. They’re predictable, and yet watching The Family with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones is an experience not to be missed. The Blake family is a family living in a small town in the French countryside, secretly in the Witness Protection program. Giovanni Manzoni is a retired mobster (who isn’t quite retired) hiding from his former colleagues who want him dead for testifying against their Don. Each family member played by DeNiro, Pfeiffer, Dianna Argon and John D’Leo is excellent. The family is tight-nit by nature, viewing everyone around them suspiciously and yet for all their shenanigans and criminal malfeasance, there is a heartfelt quality to the Blake’s that belies their violent natures. At one point or another each family member clearly is wrestling with the lives they lead, De Niro spends a moment in reflection while writing his memoirs clearly shaken by the question of whether or not his past has harmed his children as clearly as his abusive father harmed him. Quickly his daughter comforts him and tells him he was a good father. Since this is a Luc Besson film, you can be assured of a barrage of bullets and explosions, but the movie is much more a quietly good take on the mob film. Forget the cannoli; The Family is a classic mob film for the 21st century.

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