The Family Fang is a strange and challenging film about art and family. Jason Bateman directs and co-stars with Nicole Kidman as siblings struggling with their strange upbringing. Both weighted down by parents who used them as sometimes unwilling actors in public performance art. In the first of many flashback scenes they perform a fake bank heist that results in their mother pretending to be shot in front of horrified onlookers.

Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett play their judgemental present day parents who disappear leaving signs of a bloody struggle. This sets Kidman's character on a quest to prove they faked their deaths while Bateman is ready to let them go.

It's an intriguingly original adaptation with outstanding performances. (I momentarily forgot I wasn't just watching movie stars Kidman and Walken.) Unfortunately trying to balance three timeframes with interspersed documentary footage strains your attention span.

Family Fang is a melancholy, unusual, sometimes depressing and occasionally funny film that takes it's quirky story and characters seriously. The narrative is challenging but ultimately rewarding.

Rating: R

Critic's Grade: B