Reel Views: Get to know The Family

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: THE FAMILY
Robert De Niro is one of many stars in The Family.

The Family (2013)

The old-school “families” like to handle everything in the “family” way. They are relics of a time past, yet they somehow still have a place in this world. They are the mafia/mob/crime/whatever you want to call it families. Only, now one of them is in trouble.

The latest English-language, French/action flick from director Luc Besson, aptly entitled The Family, is an adrenaline-filled comedy/drama that much in the French style slips seamlessly between genres.

Giovanni Manzoni is the patriarch of one such family, who along with his wife Maggie and two children Belle and Warren, gets relocated to Normandy, France as a part of the Witness Protection Program. You see, Giovanni did a bad thing; he snitched on the mob, who are now out to get there revenge on the Manzonis. FBI Agent Stansfield takes the entire family to France, where he sure as hell is going to try to keep them alive. This proves to be tougher than poor Agent Stansfield had expected though, as it turns out that Manzonis simply can't turn off their mafia family ways like a switch.

If the thrill of a mafia family-centred plotline isn't enough to get you to the theatre, then the cast of The Family, will definitely do the trick — it's A-list through and through, with Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Agron and John D'Leo.

De Niro has reached that point in his career where it seems as though he doesn't even have to try; he just is an incredible actor. This is particularly true for roles where he plays some sort of mobster/mafioso. Is he a little typecast? Of course. But it's what he's good at and it's where he shines brightest. Playing Giovanni Manzoni in The Family is no exception.

By De Niro's side is the beautiful and equally talented Michelle Pfeiffer as Giovanni's wife Maggie. Perhaps not quite as charismatic as her on-screen husband, Pfeiffer still manages to bring energy and passion to her role as mama-mafia.

When was the last time you saw Tommy Lee Jones play a character that wasn't a grisly, hard old man? Yeah, I can't remember either. But, like De Niro playing mobsters, this is what Jones is best at. He's angry. He's grumpy. He's crusty. Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as FBI Agent Stansfield, who is being pushed to limits trying to protect the Giovanni family.

Stepping in as the younger Manzonis are Diana Agron and John D'Leo, who both bring that extra little bit of youth and fun to the flick.

If you're looking for an action-packed, French influenced, crime family thriller, The Family is right up your alley. Go check it out!

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5