By Amanda Shaffer
You find your seat, silence your phone and wait for darkness to fill the theater. The next thing you know, guns are shooting and the characters are yelling to each other in heavy New York accents. But yet, you don’t find yourself laughing as much as you thought you would.
Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star in “The Family,” a not-so-light-hearted comedy released on Sept. 13.
The Maznoni family, who is now witness-protected in present day Normandy, France, is running from Don Luchese (Stan Carp). He was the kingpin of the mafia in Brooklyn, N.Y. Now he is a prisoner at Attica Correctional Facility in New York State.
De Niro’s character, Giovanni Maznoni, once had a great influence on the neighboring mafia families in Brooklyn. In his mind, all of his dangerous, murderous acts were justified.
As the film begins, a family of four is slaughtered by one of Luchese’s henchmen, Di Cicco (Jimmy Palumbo). This is the effect of an untold, mysterious plot of a deal gone bad in the past, and Di Cicco’s quest to hunt down and kill the Maznoni clan.
Once the family arrives at their new house, Giovanni finds an old typewriter buried in a pile of forgotten objects.
In an attempt to conform to a more civil image, Giovanni tells his neighbors that he is a writer.
Giovanni finds it soothing to write about his past life as a mafia boss, much to the displeasure of his protective FBI agent Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) and wife, Maggie (Pfeiffer).
As the family adjusts to their new life, each member of the family has a different mafia-like attitude toward the challenges that they face in their new environment. From blowing up the local grocery store, to brutally beating up kids in school, the family is not subtle when it comes to everyday interactions.
Each member of the family has their own plot within the movie. Each plot describes their individual antics and their deepest desire beyond being kin to a mafia boss.
I liked the movie, but how Luchese finds the family is exaggerated. For anyone who goes to see the movie, you’ll fully understand that statement after you see it for yourself. I understand that Luchese had to find the Maznoni family for the plot to come to a full-circle, but how director Luc Besson made it happen was pathetic.
The plot was a typical story of a family trying to fit in once placed in the witness protection program. The personality of each family member is what made the movie have spice to it. I found myself laughing at many of their jokes and comical actions.
I would caution anyone who does not like brutal violence or has sensitive ears to not see this in the theater. The sounds of Giovanni shooting someone or his wife exploding something literally shook my seat. It was that loud.
All in all, “The Family” was slightly disappointing. The final step leading up to the movie’s conclusion was unsatisfactory, which shattered all of its previous good qualities.