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The Family

Hitman's best friend. 

Year: 2013 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Luc Besson 
Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron  

Luc Besson’s dark action comedy follows the pitfalls and disasters of an American family relocated to a languid and idyllic French town under a witness protection scheme. After denouncing fellow crime King Pin Don Luchese, Mafia boss Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro) and his family are forced to flee Brooklyn under the guidance of Agent Stansfield, a world weary Tommy Lee Jones. As the family settles down to domestic bliss in their quaint European surroundings, Michelle Pfeiffer grapples with her French pronunciation, whilst their flirty daughter (Dianna Agron) has the local boys punching above their weight. The gags about French food and allusions to Manzoni’s transgressions may be predictable, yet De Niro’s avuncular charisma combined with Pfeiffer’s headstrong magnetism makes The Family enjoyable.

Fans of Besson’s previous projects The Transporter and Taken series may feel the film is lacking some vital unflinching gore, yet the arrival of nine hit men in Normandy’s rural gem certainly dilutes the quirky family narrative with some much needed violence. The incongruity between Brooklyn drawls and brawls, and the unlikely setting gives the film an indefinite charm and all in all makes for entertaining viewing. Scorsese enthusiasts will appreciate the bearing his most lauded crime film has on The Family, think “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’.

Helena Skinner

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Spring Term (digital)