Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wednesday Movie Night: The Family (2013)

The family is from Luc Besson who has done some critically well received stuff, especially with the mafia. It would be the assumption that The Family might live up to critical expectation, but upon it's relief the reaction was pretty mixed. The cast is great, but the way the movie is shot takes away from the vibe that many mafia classics have had. It's a bit light, and the music a bit too action comedy. The story works though, and it creates some memorable characters otherwise.

Summary: Giovanni Manzoni and his family are living in the witness protection program after Giovanni ratted on the people he worked for to the police. Now Giovanni is living undercover as Fred with his wife Maggie, Belle, and Warren. We never learn the real names of the rest of his family. Now they are living in Normandy, France, and trying to fit in with the locals. The inability to not get into trouble though is causing Robert Stansfield, the guy who is the head of protecting them a huge headache. Now they've drawn attention to themselves, and they are being hunted.

Acting: Robert De Niro got his fame from starring in mafia movies, and while a lot of people may criticize the stereotype he has come known for in it, I don't think there is any question that he enjoys it. De Niro still is funny, and commits to the role as he has any other. Michelle Pfeiffer is the wife, Maggie. I haven't seen Pfeiffer in too much to really know about her past performances, but this role she seems suited for, and she has chemistry with De Niro. Tommy Lee Jones is the other big name listed for the movie as Robert Stansfield the guy who is protecting the family. Jones is a good actor, but this doesn't seem too far a step out for him. Diane Argon also crosses over again from television to movies as Belle. Her character was really one of the more interesting ones, but there was so much going on from her life just not related to the overall premise that it was distracting. The same for Warren who is portrayed by David Belle. The role is interesting, but the whole school aspect detracts from the rest of the movie.

Filming: The filming never matched the vibe I thought the story was going for. It's very warm, it's almost even bright and humor like. Maybe I'm just too use to older mafia films where the setting is a bit darker. I think when people sit down to watch a mafia movie they almost don't expect one that is to sort of make light of the premise of what would continue one from the Goodfellas. The movie has very youthful music and the direction just never felt as if it had a goal in mind. I liked the look of it, but the story and appearance felt like two different things.

Plot: I like the build up of where the story goes, and I felt the ending was intense and what you were hoping to see the whole time. It feels like it takes a long time to get there though. I like how they try to build up the characters in the movie. We get to know their individual wants, hopes, and desires for their own lives, but that is almost impossible apart from the family considering they have to stick together. I liked the attention to each character, but for some reason there are moments it just doesn't feel cohesive.

The Family won't be in the line of classics of mafia movies out there, and it doesn't seem to get as much attention as even Leon The Professional did from this same director. It's entertaining though and it does try to be somewhat deeper than just action. There is just something that doesn't quite pull at you emotionally during the movie though.

Rating 7 of 10.

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