Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Film Review: "The Family" (2013).




"Some call it organized crime. Others call it family."
This is The Family. This crime comedy film directed by Luc Besson; adapted by Besson and Michael Caleo; based on the French novel Malavita by Tonino Benacquista. The film follows the Manzoni family, a notorious Mafia family, who are under the witness protection program and are relocated to Normandy, France and want to change their lives. But fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.

After its publication in 2004, the novel was optioned as one of the two films developed under EuropaCorp and Relativity Media's new deal. Benacquista did not want to be very involved in the development of the film. During writing, Besson and Caleo remained faithful to the book as possible. For casting, under Benacquista's request of casting American actors, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, and John D'Leo were cast in the roles of Fred Blake/Giovanni Manzoni, Maggie Blake/Maggie Manzoni, Robert Stansfield, Belle Blake/Belle Manzoni and Warren Blake/Warren Manzoni respectively. Originally only credited as producer, it was only after the casting of De Niro and not being able to find a suitable director that Besson finally stepped up to helm the project. Principal photography began in August 2012 and was completed in October 2012. Filming took place in the locations of both Gacé and Le Sap in Normandy, and in New York City. Some of the filming also took place L'Aigle and at Cité du Cinéma in Saint-Denis.

The film stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, and John D'Leo. The cast gave rather weak performances to the point where their characters were no longer characters, but rather caricatures.

It's silly and it doesn't add anything to your life, besides giving us only a superficial view on the lead characters. On the other hand, The Family is entertaining enough. The script is funny, at times, like most of the scenes and dialogues. You'll have a good time watching a family getting into one trouble to the next. It is the kind of funny French film with some entertainment. A very silly but fun crime comedy film about a crime family trying to rebuild their lives when their past comes back to kick them in the ass. A fun ride. With some French cheese at times, but on the whole entertaining enough with a few laughs. The plot isn't intellectually challenging as much as it is somewhat flat. Besson has created a movie that is obvious one minute and impenetrable the next. However, it's not as funny as I thought it might be. The film's main crime is inducing some stupefying boredom with little payoff in the end. In the end, it's mildly entertaining, it takes a forgiving audience to overlook the rainbow of flaws and to convince themselves that they are having some fun watching the flick. The movie's hit-to-miss ratio is hardly Olympic caliber, but Besson deserves credit for chutzpah. Not the disaster most critics described it to be, but unlikely to restore Besson's luster.

Simon says The Family receives:


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