Critics' Corner: The Family

It was a good move for Robert DeNiro to return to something mobsterish after his turn in the bottom of my yearly movie list, "The Big Wedding". "The Family" is a comedy/crime drama from well-known action director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional & Taken). Many American movie actors are going abroad to film their action movies these days and for the most part, theyâ??ve all been pretty terrible; for instance, "Live Free or Die Hard", "Taken 2", "From Paris with Love" and "The Cold Light of Day", two of which Luc Besson had a part in. So, does "The Family" fall into that mold?

DeNiro plays Giovanni Manzoni, a mobster in the witness protection program that turned on his cronies and is now a heavily monitored and frequent mover. His family, Maggie, Belle and Warren are products of their father. They have learned a few things about getting what they want and defending themselves. With their new home in Normandy, France, they struggle to hide their nature.

The movie trailer plays into the movies comedy and the description of the movie leads with the word comedy. While I found a lot of the movie pretty funny, I think it is important to not go into the movie expecting to be humored like one of our American version crude comedies. Go into "The Family" not knowing what to expect and youâ??ll find that it tackles many genres of film and has a good range of comedy, action, drama, and to top it off, some quality suspense.

To be honest, some of Luc Bessonâ??s earlier films are some of my favorite movies Iâ??ve ever seen because those movies had amazing characters and great personality. Besson, lately though, has had a tendency to overwhelm the viewer with relentless shooting from cruddy characters who you could care less about. This is thankfully not the case in "The Family". While pretty much everybody in the film has a layer of â??crudâ?? to them, you begin to see an interesting thing develop as the movie plays out; a redeeming nature to the crud.

Go into "The Family" expecting to see a comedy and you may be disappointed. This is Luc Bessonâ??s homage to the gangster personality. He couldnâ??t have asked for a better man to walk in the lead characters role in DeNiro. In fact, the film also pays homage to one of DeNiroâ??s finest movies, "Goodfellas". This isnâ??t the Coenâ??s "Millerâ??s Crossing", but the mood of the film may be similar. It isnâ??t a comedy. It is a gangster film that isnâ??t afraid to make you laugh, cry and lean forward in your seat as the stuff starts to go down.