I lost the body count in the time it took took to tell the tale, but I had a great time watching Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones and a great cast in the new film The Family. The carnage is gruesome but the story, although hard to believe, is amusing, as well as tender at times and very suspenseful.
The DeNiro character's real name is Giovanni Manzoni, but has become Fred Blake under our government's witness protection program and the family has been relocated to Normandy, France. It seems that Giovanni snitched on the mob, so along with his wife Maggie, played wonderfully by Michelle Pfeiffer and their two children Belle (Diana Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) have to start up a new life. Unfortunately the family can't forget their old ways.
When the house piping doesn't work and the local plumber tries to rip them off he winds up in the hospital with more than a few broken bones. Much to Maggie's disgust in finding no peanut butter at the local market and getting a lecture on proper nutrition, the store suddenly blows up. And the children find ways to introduce a new style of ethics to the school system, especially when things don't go their way. It's darkly amusing and you know you shouldn't be laughing, but you can't help yourself.
Tommy Lee Jones plays an FBI agent assigned to watch over DiNiro who has a $20 million dollar bounty on his head from the stateside Mafia. It's not an easy job and the frustration begins to show. Jones is a consummate actor who can take the smallest role and make it a minor gem.
The last 20 minutes or so of The Family is the most nerve wracking sequence of events that I've sat through in years and I'm glad I didn't miss a bit of it.
Time: 110 minutes
Rating: "R" - for violence, language, and brief sensuality.
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