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Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Review - The Family - sadly disappointed with this one.
Robert De Niro ... Fred Blake / Giovanni Manzoni
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Maggie Blake
Dianna Agron ... Belle Blake
John D'Leo ... Warren Blake
Tommy Lee Jones ... Robert Stansfield
Summary: The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
So I saw the trailer for this a couple of times when I went to the cinema to see other films (Thor 2, twice) and I very much wanted to see it. Now the only word that comes to mind is disappointed, no, actually, there are two: really disappointed.
From the trailer it looks like a comedy; a violent, kick arse, black comedy along the lines of Hot Fuzz and The Heat and for the first half it is. Admittedly it was a little dark and serious in a couple of spots, but I just thought it was trying to be edgy. Then we get to the second half and suddenly it's a Mafia revenge movie that is depressing and so not what I wanted to watch.
Well, actually, for most of the cast is becomes a Mafia revenge movie, I'm pretty sure Robert De Niro was still in the black comedy and was hence the only redeeming feature.
It was as if someone had one idea and executed it pretty well for a while and then got all emo at the end.
The cast were superb, but the material they had to work with was just not well balanced.
I really enjoyed the first half, it was funny and touching in places. The characters are not nice, but then they don't have to be because all the violence is black comedy violence. You couldn't hit someone with a baseball bat like that and not kill them, but it happens. Blowing up a supermarket would kill and maim people, but I laughed because that's the way it was set up and I assumed survival with black faces because that's what happens in comedies. However, then shit got real. Suddenly people were really dying (and not just the bad guys) there's talk of suicide and rape and it's just horrible.
This film has a personality disorder, it does not know what it's trying to be.
Then there are the unused plot possibilities. I'm not going to tell you what the main set up was, but, let's just say it is never realised. If it had been a black comedy to the end, it could have been used easily, Robert De Niro's last line even references it, but because it suddenly went real, it's totally throwaway.
This could have been brilliant; it has moments of genius, but it totally fell on it's face. I was left feeling cheated. The trailer promised me one things, the film started to give it to me and then flipped to something else entirely.I thought it was going to be one to add to the DVD wishlist, but it so isn't.