Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Family


Like The Addams Family except with the family of Mafia boss Giovanni Manzoni, posing as the Blake family, hiding out under witness protection in Normandy, and trying to fit in. Like the Addams family of ghouls, this is one bizarre family, but they are loyal and loving like a normal father, mother, daughter, and son.


A very enjoyable film, nicely directed by Luc Besson, funny in a macabre way as it leads to one of the most gripping climaxes of the year.


Granted, playing a Mafia tough guy is in De Niro's blood, but I must say he shines in this movie. He doesn't ham it up or go off the silly deep end as he has done since he started doing comedy. This is a fine performance by De Niro.

Each member of the Blake/Manzoni family is excellent. Michelle Pfeiffer stands out as the long-suffering Mafia wife from Brooklyn who goes into a French grocery store, asks for peanut butter, and then torches the place when she is treated rudely. She doesn't stand for any nonsense, but she expresses the drawbacks of being married to a very dangerous husband whose favorite word is "Fuck!"

John D'Leo as the son, Warren, displays a youthful, promising talent. Hope we see more of him.

My favorite is Belle, the daughter, played by the talented and very attractive Dianna Agron. Her little brother has inherited his father's criminal talents for extortion, bribery, and forgery, but Belle has inherited a tendency to vent her anger in extreme ways, expressing a pent-up rage that suggests her frustrations with this unusual family and her longing to be part of a normal family.


The film builds up nicely to the tense climax when hit men locate the Manzoni family, take out the village policemen, and get ready to massacre the family.

My favorite moment: Belle takes a tennis racquet and vents her prodigious rage on a randy teenager who tries to force her to have sex. Her wrath is gorgeous. Oo, la, la!


I laughed out loud. I really enjoyed seeing the performance of a bygone De Niro. I was suitably gripped by the ending. Belle is awesome. I would see this again.

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