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The Family (2013)

Directed by Luc Besson Screenplay by Luc Beeson & Michael Caleo

As the film begins with a bang, smoke clears and we find a man in part of a larger ‘cleanup’ crew getting what he had come for. A finger (print) off the head of a household in an attempt to locate Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro), or Fred Blake, as he had come to be known as of recent. Having been stuck in Witness Protection for the past almost ten years with his significant other Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo), they had just arrived in Normandy, France under the supervision of Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones).

Proving that settling in wouldn’t be so easy as old habits die hard for Fred. Going right back to work on hiding the real reason behind the stench lasting their eleven hour drive. Maggie, unappreciative of the locals ‘hospitality,’ finds that a little lesson taught never hurt anybody. While the kids take their first day at school to research the type of classmates dealing with; getting the layout of how things ran around there. Robert, visits later that first night to assess how all was going, having grown tired of moving the family every so couple of months. Of which cannot go left unsaid of how well Tommy and Robert had a wonderful chemistry; playing off the other so well throughout. Peaking at one of my favorite moments within the film when Fred is invited to speak at the film society club as an expert on American culture. The film in topic; Goodfellas. Ending such with a lavish discussion on the accuracy of which he receives a standing ovation for, rightfully so.

Meanwhile the siblings try their hand at testing the fates and when not going accordingly so, find the only way out was to part ways from their parents. That is, until Warren finds himself at the train station ready to depart, recognizing a familiar bunch having just arrived. Unable to hold back emotion as they so nearly pass him by. (Good thing they weren’t looking for any Italians in the area) His ancestral instincts kicking in as he returns to find his sister already aware of the situation at hand, scoping the area as they locate the cars parked, full of loaded weapons. Unknown to their mother who had joined up with the FBI agents keeping watch; newly informed by Robert that they would moving them out of the city that night.

 Now if there’s one thing I’m always up for its is a good mob flick. But I do mean good. The names Scorsese, Pacino, Pesci and especially De Niro all mean something to me. Fearing that as years press on we run the risk of it being a long while until we see a string of films done so with the same explosive nature as the before mentioned have accomplished. Or at that, have a Director that can seemingly understand that world so well to have a string of hits to otherwise back such up. This film bearing a great concept for people equally appreciative of the sub-genre.

Though a rather quiet film, its filled with so many little things that come together to make it work on a plethora of levels. Luc Besson had a fantastic trio leading the way, with Actors who had never worked together prior, yet were each so humorous and an important piece to the puzzle. With De Niro getting to “put in his two cents” periodically behind the scenes, for who better to help set the mood then an expert in the field. Surprisingly pairing nicely with Michelle Pfeiffer. But not because I didn’t feel she didn’t otherwise fit the part; she does. She just wasn’t seen enough in comparison to have anything to complain about on the matter. Both children molding into their roles as D‘Leo “little De Niro” had the language and attitude down while Dianna had quite the emotional ride to handle, yet could flip on a switch effortless to show off her capabilities of keeping up with her illicit family members. The style of the film remained steady as far as pace which yielded beautiful transition shots and moving subtitles that were pleasant additions. The character of Fred as well had these flashes of murderous intentions that were fun to differentiate in between; comparable to Billy Crystal’s in Analyze This. A last favorite moment being as the cleanup crew arrived, just as “Feel Good Inc.” (Gorillaz) chimed in, in what was easily added to my list of favorite entrances in film. Bottom line being its an all together fantastic homage to the good ’ol boys.