“The Family” is a star-studded comedy with the darkest of humor, outrageous mafia antics, and of course, an ample amount of explosions. This film mixes violent humor with the exploration of surprisingly complex family issues in a way that will leave you both amused and thoughtful.
The infamous Manzoni family, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo, are in the Witness Protection Program after Giovanni, De Niro, ratted out his fellow Brooklyn mafia members.
Needless to say, this no-nonsense, mafia-raised family does not settle quietly into their new home of Normandy, France. From blowing up supermarkets with rude owners, to mercilessly beating a dishonest plumber, each member of this family delivers their own kind of everyday justice that part of us wishes we could do ourselves on a daily basis.
The most rewarding of these instances was when the son and daughter of the Manzoni family used their designated skills to take over their new high school in a way that had every person who had been bullied in high school cheering from their seats in the movie theater.
However, even though this family is pretty unusual in many ways, director Luc Besson manages to make them relatable by having them experience the daily struggles of a normal family. Squabbling siblings, coming-of-age themes, rebellious children, life regrets and parental differences all assume a large role along with the violence and humor.
One interesting choice by the director, though, is that instead of having the family be completely unafraid and ruthless at all times, the hilarity becomes much more serious at the climactic ending. In the final attack by mafia hit men, the Manzoni family is clumsy with their weapons and openly terrified about their situation. It definitely adds to the depth of the movie, leading the viewer to walk away feeling as if they have seen something more than a simple farce or action adventure.
“The Family” was a great opportunity to see De Niro play a different kind of mobster and to escape into a world where any problem can be solved with a baseball bat and some explosives.