"The Family" has a rather anticlimactic finish, especially considering the fact that Luc Besson is handling the directorial duties. While there is action, it is rather brief, so it isn't the big set pieces that take the movie over the top. No, it is the rather subtle, inspired moments that add to "The Family", including an homage to the many similar characters Robert DeNiro has played in his extensive career.
The film is a big-screen adaptation of the French crime novel Malavita by Tonino Benacquista. Giovanni Manzoni used to a be big-time gangster in New York, but after he ratted out his mafia family to the Feds, he lives a much quieter life as part of witness protection. The film opens with Giovanni and his family(played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron and John D'Leo) arriving at their new home in Normandy. Living as 'The Blakes', the family tries to integrate into their French neighborhood. In the meantime, Giovanni starts writing his memoirs when he finds an old typewriter in the storage area of his new home.
Of course, there are people still hunting Giovanni, and in classic movie fashion, the manhunt is being organized by an incarcerated member of the mafia family. How Giovanni's victim manages to stumble on the Blake's location is pretty good, and Giovanni's night at a film screening becomes rather amusing when the scheduled film is changed at the last minute.
The film follows each of the family members as they try to get adjusted to their new surroundings, but all this just seems like bought time until the expected climax shows up. This feeling is only amplified as each of these stories are left as unfinished as Giovanni's manuscript. At least moviegoers get to see Robert DeNiro starring in a halfway decent flick for a change(yes, he was in last year's "Silver Linings Playbook", but as a supporting player), and for Pfeiffer, this is a far better motion picture than "Dark Shadows." "The Family" is a solid movie, but most of the time it is nearly as quiet as its setting. Its characters make for an enjoyable experience, but it won't entirely be necessary to pay the Blakes another visit down the road.