Aug 15 2013
Produced by Martin Scorcese, The Family blends the mafia into a comic storyline, yet again
Giovanni Manzoni (De Niro) has had enough of the mob and along with wife Maggie (Pfeiffer) decides to sing to the cops. When the mafia gets on their trail, the family — the couple and their children, Belle (Agron) and Warren (D’Leo) — are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection programme.
Agent Stansfield (Lee Jones) has the job of his life keeping the family, one that’s used to doing things their own way, in line. But over time, the couple and their kids find that they may want to leave the mob behind, but their mob-like habits refuse to leave them.
Plopped into a small village, the family finds themselves like fish out of water. All of them grapple with anger-management issues, and have trouble breaking with the past. So Fred decides that the only way to deal with the local plumber (who fooled him) is to kill him. Maggie burns down a grocery store after a run-in with the owner’s wife; their daughter wields her tennis racquet to beat up a guy hitting on her; and the son is at the centre of a smallish crime ring at high school. Even the family dog, Malavita, is
Total chaos ensues in the till-now-peaceful French village, enabling Fred’s old mafia associates to track the family down. How will old scores be settled in this quiet setting? And will the Manzonis/Blakes get out alive and be able to do what they wanted to when they enrolled in witness protection: Start life afresh.
The Family was shot on location in Normandy, Gacé, Le Sap, New York City and L'Aigle. It’s one of the first films to be shot in Cité du Cinéma, the largest film studio facility in Saint-Denis, France.
De Niro plays his part as the mobster who wants to reform but can’t to perfection. Well, he’s done it so many times before that we’ve lost count — The Godfather: Part II, Goodfellas and Analyze This. He’s in great company with Pfeiffer, who returns to the world of organised crime 25 years after her Angela de Marco act in Married to the Mob. Besson and Benacquista confabulated and concluded that De Niro and Pfeiffer would be “perfect” for the leading roles.
The duo — who’ve never worked together despite being part of films like New Year’s Eve earlier — were keen to work on the black comedy. Pfeiffer has said that she didn’t want to pass on her “third opportunity to do a film with him and to actually act with him”. Thank god for that! The two light up the screen, creating a wickedly delicious comedy with dark overtones. Besson, who’s wielding the directorial reins after long, believes he’s already got an “authorisation from the sky, from god.”
Scorcese laughed at a viewing —apparently the biggest endorsement of them all!