The Family was formerly titled Malavita – the Italian word for the underworld of organized crime – and is based on author Tonino Benacquista’s non-fiction book “Badfellas.” It tells the story of ex-Mafia boss Giovanni Manzoni (played by Robert De Niro), who strikes a deal with the U.S. government and relocates his family under the FBI’s witness protection program to France.
However, the Manzoni clan – which includes Giovanni’s tempestuous wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) – stick out like a sore thumb, seeing how they’re a bunch of Americans who’re used to living the mobster lifestyle; now, they’re stuck keeping their heads down, in an effort to hide out in the quiet European countryside. When trouble comes a knockin’, the Mazonis are more than happy to – once again – be free and handle things “the family way.”
The Family was directed by Luc Besson (Léon: The Professional, Fifth Element), based on a script he co-wrote alongside Michael Caleo (a writer and story editor on The Sopranos). The supporting cast includes Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) – as the federal agent who’s been given the task of keeping the Mazonis in line – and Dianna Agron (Glee) as De Niro and Pfeiffer’s daughter in the film. Lastly, the film was executive produced by the king of the mobster genre (and De Niro’s longtime collaborator), Martin Scorsese.
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The trailer for The Family gives off a strong and darkly satirical vibe, more so than previous De Niro films that lampoon the actor’s legacy as a screen mobster icon (see: Analyze This/That). Besson often hands over his action movie screenplays to other directors – like on the Transporter and Taken franchises – but the ones he decides to direct himself are sometimes heavier on the quirky humor, as combined with socio-political commentary and highly-edited violence.
So far, The Family appears to fit that profile (excuse the pun), and looks more like Besson’s version of The Whole Nine Yards than anything else. Nowadays, De Niro’s roles of choice – like the films based on Besson’s scripts – have a tendency to be uneven, with the former ranging from Meet the Parents sequels to the Best Picture Oscar-nominee Silver Linings Playbook. Nonetheless, The Family has potential to fall more on the good side of De Niro’s movie spectrum.
The Family opens in U.S. theaters on September 20th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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