The Family (2013)

The Family (2013)
  • Time: 110 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Cast: Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer


A mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of CIA Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo) can’t help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the “family” way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. Chaos ensues as old scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings in this darkly funny film by Luc Besson (Taken, Transporter).


  • What you will get is a nice movie, but don’t watch it with great expectations. A movie directed by Luc Besson and with the star actor Robert De Niro and on top of that Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones has to be more than great, but it isn’t.

    The best actors in this movie are the two children. They make their characters likable and they saved the whole thing from being worse than nice.

    Michelle Pfeiffer is awful. The only thing she adds to this movie is here name.

    Robert De Niro plays his grumpy old man character with his hard gangster look. It is good, but we have seen it in so many of his movies, that one could wonder if he can play something else. His character has some comedic quality by showing an ex gangster who tries to overcome normal life obstacles with his gangster methods.

    I don’t like the end scenes because it shows so much violence and destruction which is totally unnecessary. It seems that Hollywood is nowadays on a NWO propaganda trip to desensitize the audience for this kind of overkill. 10 or 15 years ago it would be sufficient for one killer who would break into the house trying to kill the family or a bomb. In these days you need a handful of killers who are armed to their teeth and firing their first shot on the house with a RPG. The whole police department has to be killed as well as the fire department. Innocent neighbors have to go and destruction has to be accepted.

  • What seems like a very entertaining scenario flutters out quickly and often. There was not much I liked here even though I wanted to. The cast had promise, and the plot was a cool idea. The film is dark, and many people get beat up, or buried, and while it seems like it would be entertaining, it’s just kind of lame. There is humor in the way the whole family-even the kids are Mafioso savy-handle themselves but near the end of the movie, it does take a dramatic turn towards the violent side. But the movie was neither funny enough for a comedy or sufficiently serious to be a drama. There are some unique elements to the cat-and-mouse scenes with the villains, there are some killer editing choices, and Robert De Niro has an absolutely righteous beard. But the tonal inconsistencies and weak script make it impossible to completely support. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend “The Family”…

  • “Fuck”

    What began as a morbid comedy ended in an implausible action picture. Judging by the cast, I still expected a more robust movie than that “The Family” ultimately turns out to be. The film is based on the novel “MalaVita” of Benaquista, which was translated to “Badfellas” as the English version and (can you believe it ?) is also the name of the family dog​​. From the beginning I knew immediately where this was going to. So you can say that the movie was fairly predictable.

    Sometimes it was pretty funny. Certainly the dialogues between Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones were hilarious . The moody CIA agent who drags the former mafia boss around from place to place for years already to protect him and his family against the Mafia members who seek revenge. De Niro and Jones both have such a decrepit face that perfectly suits their characters. De Niro looks as if he just walked out of “Cape Fear”. That guy has a timeless look on his face and is instantly associated with some gangster figure. And Jones walked straight of the “Men in Black” set. The scene where they go to an evening debate, and the planned American movie didn’t arrive on time. As a replacement they play the movie “Goodfellas”. Jones is getting nervous by the minute while De Niro enjoys himself while watching this mob-movie and probably relives his past. A damn hilarious and for me the funniest part in the whole movie.

    Michelle Pfeiffer played a meaningless role as protective housewife who tries to keep her husband out of trouble, corrects her son when he uses offensive language and holds her daughters hand while pointing out the dangers in the love life of a young woman growing up. The only time she shows that she is married to a notorious gangster, is the moment she blows up a local grocery store. Brilliant !
    The daughter Belle, played by Dianna Agron, has a beautiful appearance and looks as if she ran out of the movie “Bilitis” with that 70ish dress with bows and a hazy appearance. The romance that developed between her and the math teacher was obviously required material for this comedy, but wasn’t a significant contribution to the film. I would have preferred to see Belle continue with that mafia-daughter-that-hits-others-with-her-cellphone kind of attitude.

    The son didn’t waste any time and soon emerged as a purebred organizer to get the whole school working for himself. A master manipulator and con artist in no time. Terribly exaggerated! What bothered me most was the feeling that it wasn’t really a loving family. It was just a married couple with apparently two adopted children.

    The moment I felt that this movie would go completely the wrong way, was the fact that the American Mafia family was housed in a tiny French village and all the people there all speak fluently excellent English . Some of them even with an American accent. And I doubt that the schools in France have the same mentality as in American High Schools. You could expect that the betrayed mafia members would find the running and hiding Manzoni family. The way was even far-fetched for this movie.

    From here it turned into a semi-brutal gangster parody without a bit of a comical touch. The gangsters that appear on the scene are a complete caricature and start to massacre half the village in a nonsensical way. Starting with the police, the fire department, the CIA agents and then the surrounding residents. They are noticed by the Manzoni kids. Belle is sitting on the roof of the church because of her unanswered love. The son is sobbing on a bench in the train station while waiting for a train to Paris, because the school has reprimanded him about his criminal practices. For a son of a alleged mob member, he’s a real softie. Eventually they both turn into true Rambo’s and start to kick some gangsters ass, allthough those guys look professional enough and have enough experience in this terrain.

    The major problem with “The Family” is that it’s not really a comedy and not really a crime movie. It wants it both ways and finally fails on both attempts. A cast with stars as De Niro and Pfeiffer can’t save this movie, despite being such heavyweights in the Hollywood landscape.

    Quote of Linda Barnard in the Toronto Star: “While Besson knows his way around an action movie, he’s not as adept at comedy The result is an often-violent, occasionally amusing fish-out-of-eau tale That plunks a family of wise. guys in the French countryside with predictable results. ”

  • On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take in a screening of the aptly titled, The Family. As I viewed this hollow, shallow, and tired exercise in modern filmmaking, I asked myself a simple yet loaded question: Does Robert De Niro really need to be in another mob fest? My answer: An emphatic no. With characters that have not an ounce of human compassion and scenes of unnecessarily brutal violence (I’m sure even mobsters exhibit a small ounce of decent human behavior unlike the cast in this dreck), this thing actually still wants you to laugh with it as well. So, is it a black comedy? Oh no. It’s too dumbfounded to be that. Fargo is a black comedy. Dr. Strangelove is a black comedy. The Family couldn’t tie their shoes. That’s for darn sure. Truth be told, I don’t really know what kind of film this is. I have no idea what it tries to be. The most shocking thing is that every rote scene turns extremely dark toward the last half. Therefore, I figured there was no point in having any of the characters try to exude laughs out of the audience in the first place. “Family” is a film you see once and that’s it. I have no doubt in my mind that its box office status will drop like a heavy stone in a deep body of water.

    Taking place in a small town in France and based on the 2010 novel called Badfellas (wow, there’s an original title) by Tonino Benacquista, The Family is about De Niro’s mafia boss character (Giovanni Mazoni), his wife (Maggie played by Michelle Pfeiffer who I guess, gives the flick’s strongest performance), and their two children (newcomer John D’Leo and Glee alum Dianna Agron). Based on previous events in which Mazoni snitches on a crime kingpin thereby sending said person to prison, De Niro’s clan (now going under the last name Blake) goes into a witness protection program. They end up living near Normandy, France and are being watched and/or supervised by an FBI agent named Robert Stansfield (played by Tommy Lee Jones who deserves better). As I stated earlier, The Family undercuts scenes of brutal beatings with moderate sitcom humor until it goes into deeper, darker territory. To say that this picture is uneven, is a gigantic understatement. And the fact that it makes references to De Niro’s 1990 acting triumph Goodfellas, is insulting. In a sense, it turns The Family into a parody rather than a real movie.

    All in all, I guess what boggles my mind is why Martin Scorsese agreed to produce a mafia vehicle directed by the guy who wrote The Transporter flicks (Luc Beeson, who always seems to bring a slick, empty look to the proceedings). What’s even more puzzling is the fact that Tommy Lee Jones (Stansfield) signed on to play such a nothing role as the sad sack who watches over De Niro’s character. Ultimately, The Family is an uninspired mess. It’s an out-of-place popcorn flick (the violent bloodbath toward the film’s conclusion reminded me of one of the Die Hard films) and a startlingly un-human mix of mob comedy and fledgling drama. Yes, the acting is decent and the direction is numbingly serviceable. But by the time the final credits roll, you’ll realize how disposable it is. In its 112 minute running time, all the events that took place could easily recycle themselves many times over. Translation: there is no need to take in a viewing. As I walked out the theater, I realized that I’m fortunate to not be a part of a “family” like this.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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