Luc Besson must have been a mischievous kid, and you could usually see that in his directing style: a smirk in the face. He is also the best writer that can show us a sarcastic view of his native France. His Fifth Element is one of my all time favourites, and I also like the original La Femme Nakita. The reviews of The Family were terrible during its theatrical release, so I didn’t pay to see it, and I thought the trailer said it all. However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that I really liked it, and in the back of my mind, I told myself that this must have been imported (remake of a successful European original like Taxi). That’s when I found out it was directed and scripted by Besson, and it made perfect sense.
Another film with Robert De Niro, who plays Mafia boss, Giovanni Manzoni/Fred, in exile: witness protection. The family is again on a relocation, this time in a small village in Normandy. The matriarch of the family is Maggie(Michelle Pfeiffer), the daughter is Belle(Dianna Agron – Glee), and little brother is Warren(John D’Leo). The Blake’s family has landed in Normandy, and tries to integrate with its local people.
Right off the bat you know the members of the family are no Goody Two Shoes, so the question is really how bad will it escalate? and what will push each of them off the cliff, and when. In other words, every moment is like a cliffhanger, and that’s why I liked this film.
The outstanding part of this film, other than good direction, and the tongue-in-cheek of the abhorrent American tourists on French soil in French eyes, and yet the locals admire them secretly, is the three seasoned actors, De Niro, Pfeiffer, and who would have guessed, the stern face Tommy Lee Jones playing Robert Stansfield-FBI. Watching Lee Jones and De Niro face-off will worth every second of your time, and they have many scenes together!
The surprise is Agron, she could be the next offical Mean Girl. Pretty, sweet, innocent, and plays a smacking game of tennis, without the balls. Her sweetness shown through her genuine kindred with his little brother. D’Leo is probably a reflection of Besson.
I know Fred was a scumbag, yet I wanted them to escape from their past, which caught up with them eventually. In other words, at the end of the film, you will feel something for this family, and you want them to survive. How many times I have said that I didn’t like films that lack of clear characters development, this film will prove how essential that is. But I am merely an audience.
WATCH…Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones, seriously (Two sharks in a tank)!