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The Family

By MICHAEL NORDINE
Early on in The Family, mafioso-turned-informant Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) claims to have “no regrets” about his former life or about his decision to turn state’s evidence. It’s a declaration that immediately saps the film of its potential to say anything meaningful about the nature of loyalty within the Mafia. Years before Luc Besson’s film came around, the “College” episode of The Sopranos took the idea of being on the run to explore the moral reckoning that accompanies post-Mafia life. This, however, doesn’t seem to have occurred to Besson, who’s perfectly content to define his characters in all too broad strokes—never mind that his protagonist just sold his friends down the river. The raw materials should allow The Family to act at least as a humorous sendup of the gangster genre, but Besson spends so much time pingponging between comedy and drama that, by the film's climax, you don’t know how seriously to take it. It doesn’t help that De Niro once again plays a caricature of the mobster archetype he helped make famous in The Godfather Part II and Goodfellas (his character even watches the latter film at one point), making this quite literally self-parody—only without the self-awareness of Analyze This.
 
  • Genres: Action, Dark comedy
  • Running Time: 111 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, November 1, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Brief Sexuality, Language, Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: C
  • Starring: Robert De Niro [Fred], Tommy Jones [Agent Stansfield], Michelle Pfeiffer [Maggie], Dianna Agron [Belle], John D'Leo [Warren], Jon Freda [Rocco], Jimmy Palumbo [DiCicco], Domenick Lombardozzi [Mimmo]
  • Directed by: Luc Besson [Director], Luc Besson [Screenwriter], Michael Caleo [Screenwriter], Virginie Besson-Silla [Producer], Ryan Kavanaugh [Producer], Martin Scorsese [Executive Producer], Tucker Tooley [Executive Producer], Thierry Arbogast [Cinematographer], Julien Rey [Film Editor], Evgueni Galperine [Original Music], Sacha Galperine [Original Music], Hugues Tissandier [Production Design], Olivier Bériot [Costume Designer]
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