EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions.
Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Luc Besson fan. I mean, The Fifth Element, The Professional, Taken, Lockout? Come on. And Lucy, in theaters July 25, looks amazing.
In The Family, the Manzoni family has been in witness protection for ten years due to the patriarch, Giovanni (Robert De Niro), snitching on his mafia family. The Manzonis, now the Blakes, arrive in Normandy, France, a steep step down from their previous higher-end digs.
The Manzonis have a bounty on their heads, of course, and the mafia has never stopped searching for them, even murdering the wrong family of four.
There’s nothing to do in town but this isn’t new for the kids, Belle and Warren (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo), who fall into their familiar pattern of conning, assault, power plays and generally taking no shit from anyone.
Gio and Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) have a harder time assimilating. Maggie used to be the life of the party and has zero patience for the way locals treat her. Gio, against all rules set by his Witsec handler, Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones), sits in the house’s rundown greenhouse, writes his memoirs and sneaks out every chance he can get. He solves problems his way, which includes violence and intimidation and a lot of it. But haven’t we all wanted to beat a plumber who tried to rip us off or a jerk who interrupts us mid-sentence?
Besson has a history of writing and featuring the most kickass female characters in his movies. This is no exception. Dianna Agron delivers a hell of a speech to rapey boys in the park, one of which she just beat the crap out of with a tennis racket. Michelle Pfeiffer, only slightly more restrained, serves up her vengeance with a polite smile and extra lighter fluid. No one in this movie messes around.
Belle turns out to be a lovestruck 17 year old girl. I accept it and it made sense as I, too, was once a 17 year old girl but it disappointed me. I wanted her to be a female-avenging, ultraviolent, superhero psychopath and not get taken in by some dude who’s a bit cute and a lot into math.
The Family has the action, clever humor and characters to root for that is expected from a Luc Besson film and puts a new twist on the mob movie. I truly enjoyed Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances. I’m glad they finally got to share scenes on screen together, as they never have before. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I have to give it a Liked It*.
* My internet was worse than a thousand armpits and it took me a day to gather up enough internets to play the whole thing. I would definitely watch it again, in one sitting, instead of a hundred separate ones. Kiss kiss, Verizon.