I am mostly Italian (my mom is one hundred percent and my dad I have no clue how much although our last name is Italian) and being Italian means I have had to sit through all the great gangster movies. I have seen The Godfather and before that I kept hearing “what is wrong with you you’re Italian and you’ve never seen The Godfather?!” I watched the first and second Godfather and thought they were excellent (I shall be skipping the third). I have seen Goodfellas and thought it was genius. Godfather II and Goodfellas have Robert De Niro in common and so does the latest gangster movie The Family. Also like Goodfellas Martin Scorsese is attached to The Family but only as a producer.
Giovanni Manzoni (De Niro) and his family are in witness protection in France. They were living in the beautiful Riviera until he did something he should not have done and his handler in the witness protection had to have the family move. They move to the middle of nowhere in Normandy where there is absolutely nothing to do. The handler, Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) tells them to blend in and keep out of trouble. He has the house watched by two FBI agents in a place across the street.
Of course the first day in town everyone gets into trouble. Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the wife, gets mad at a grocery store clerk and blows the back room up. Belle (Dianna Agron), the daughter, is taken to a lake by some French boys where one of them hits on her and she beats the every living crap out of him with a tennis racket. Warren, the son, manages to be a smart ass and gets his ass kicked but already plans out his revenge against the idiot guys that beat him up. Giovanni, or Fred as Robert has him called, beats up the plumber who was going to charge him for doing nothing.
Besides all the beat downs, things seem to be going well for the newly named Blake family. Giovanni even plans on writing his memoirs on an old typewriter he found. That is until the mob boss that Giovanni squealed on and sent to prison manages to find out where he is hiding in France and sends his guys after him. Now the whole family has to come together to take down the hit men.
The cast was excellent. Robert Di Nero is horribly typcasted as a former mob man but come on he made his name playing Vito Corleone who is without a doubt one of the most famous movie characters ever so of course he will forever play mobsters. Michelle Pfeiffer was good but her performance and character seemed a little awkward. I liked seeing her with Di Nero and the “kids” she was good with them. Now I must admit I went to see this movie for Dianna Agron. Let me set the record straight that I despise Glee. I watched two episodes with my friend and could not stand it unless the cast was singing (I like their singing so much I have a Glee playlist on my iPod I just hate the show and all the character drama). The episodes that I saw I fell in love with Dianna Agron I thought she was fantastic. Agron was so good. I went nuts in the two scenes where she beats up people she was awesome! Belle was a typical teenage girl character besides beating the crap out of a guy who touched her and a girl who stole her pencil case. She falls in love with a guy and is devastated when he leaves for Paris. I find it funny that Agron is a year older than me at twenty-seven years old and she is forever playing high school students. I hope to see Agron in more movies she has so much potential to become a popular leading lady. John D’Leo who plays Warren was so damn good. You could believe this kid was as smart as he was. Much love and admiration goes to D’Leo for being a fellow New Jerseyian. My favorite parts of the film were the ones where Belle and Warren talk to each other. You can tell they know they are the only ones they can depend on. The best part was when Warren tells Belle how their father uses the F-bomb to express every kind of emotion be it bad or good. Tommy Lee Jones is just a great actor. Him and Di Nero together were hysterical. It was weird seeing these two giants of acting together but they completely worked.
The Family can be seen as a typical mob movie yet it is different from what has been done and what has been released the past few months. Of course it will not do anything incredible at the box office mostly because it is different and because it is another mob movie with Robert Di Nero. If you have seen Scorsese’s other films you will know that there is always a family element in them and it usually is large part of the story. The Manzonis are a typical Italian family from Brooklyn. They are all very close and no matter what happens they are always there for each other. The story moves along slowly and the climax comes and goes very quickly. I did not have any expectations for the story so I was not let down in any way. As I mentioned I went to see this more for Dianna Agron and she was great. The Family in no way stands out as one of the greatest gangster films ever made but it is different and very enjoyable. I think I will be getting this when it comes out on Blu Ray.