Gangster and mob movies have been popular for as long as I can remember. The most recent film to touch upon the genre, “The Family,” definitely dealt with issues and storylines akin to previous gangster movies. However, it took a different approach to its characters than others.
The film centers around the Blake family, who are placed in the witness protection program. Years before, the father, Fred, played by Robert De Niro, acted as a major witness and informant for the FBI in taking down his family of mafia members. Consequently, the FBI constantly moves the family around while Fred’s mafia-affiliated relatives continue to search for them.
Now the Blakes find themselves relocating to Normandy, France. Here, each member of the four-person family struggles to assimilate in the new foreign culture: a search for peanut butter leads to the explosion of a grocery store, French boys attempt to coerce the daughter into sleeping with them and the family tries not to kill the mayor, plumber and water company executive, all of whom seem to lie and cheat. But these are only a few of their struggles.
There were a couple of aspects that I really liked about this movie. First, I definitely enjoyed the plot idea. It seems that there are not many movies focussing on the aftermath of becoming a key witness and ratting on large crime kingpins.
Next, I thought that “The Family” also had a pretty strong cast. Aside from De Niro, the cast included Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, John D’Leo and Dianna Agron, who definitely took on a different type of character and tone from her previous days on “Glee.”
Lastly, while this film seemed to be marketed as both a comedy and drama, it definitely seemed like more of an action-drama than comedy-drama to me. I did not think this was bad though, especially since there were some funny moments in the film.
But I thought that the film’s trailers and previews were misleading and presented it as more of a comedy than it actually was.