The Family

Film, Comedy
The Family

Crime-infused black comedy is tricky to get right. Nail the required blend of humour, grit and pathos and the results can be sublime (see ‘In Bruges’); get it wrong, and you end up with a ‘Gigli’ on your hands. Luc Besson’s convoluted, tonally shambolic ‘The Family’ – an adaptation of Tonino Benacquista’s novel ‘Malavitas’ – bellyflops squarely into the latter camp.

A desultory Robert De Niro continues his downward career trajectory as runaway Brooklyn mob paterfamilias Giovanni, who hides out in Normandy with his sociopathic wife (a criminally wasted Michelle Pfeiffer) and two vile children. Here, they terrorise a host of provincial French stereotypes before having to defend themselves from their pursuers. Why Besson thinks viewers would root for this awful family is anyone’s guess – the script leaves us none the wiser – but he ploughs on undaunted with a relentless combination of gratuitous violence, tasteless sexual shenanigans involving Giovanni’s teenage daughter and tortured, sub-Tarantino witticisms. The film’s sole saving grace is Tommy Lee Jones’s amusingly cranky FBI agent, but he can’t save this ship from sinking.

By: Ashley Clark


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday November 22 2013
Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Luc Besson
Cast: Robert De Niro
Michelle Pfeiffer
Dianna Agron
Tommy Lee Jones

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Much more entertaining than other reviews led me to expect. Robert de Niro and Michelle Pfieffer are always good to watch. It's a very dark comedy and a thoroughly enjoyable evening out. Will it be remembered in 20 or 30 years time like "Goodfellas?" Probably not but how many comedies will be?

Thoroughly average film where De Niro and Pfeiffer are wasted. Both seem like they are in auto pilot. Second film in two weeks, the other being The Counsellor, where the final film no where near reaches the heights you would expect for the people involved. The best bits are in the trailer. Just about a 2 star film.

I thought it would be boring but The Family proved to be a pleasant film which is better that the sum of its parts. The first half is mediocre but the second half is more interesting. The cast fit their roles, the plot is developed enough and the movie has better humor than most of today's comedies.