Making a movie with Robert De Niro playing an infamous gangster is not exactly a new concept. So right away, if you’re making a new movie with that old casting idea, you better have something special. “The Family” is not special.
De Niro is Giovanni Manzoni. He, his wife Maggie, played by the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer, and their two teenage kids are relocated to Europe after Giovanni, aka Fred Blake, rats on his old mob buddies, landing a lot of them in jail. Tommy Lee Jones plays a federal agent who is responsible for the care and feeding of the Manzoni family.
Violence is an old family tradition for the Manzoni clan. Even their two kids bring it to their local high school. Mom and Dad also practice their own brand of violence with a local plumber and the owner of a village food store. For a family trying to hide, they sure go out of their way to be a public nuisance.
Of course, the mob figures out where the Manzoni’s are, leading to a bloody ending. Now ask yourself. When have you ever seen De Niro or Pfeiffer get killed in a movie? How about never. Kind of takes the suspense out of the ending.
“The Family” is full of gory, gratuitous and explicit violence in real-time and flashbacks. The film has only a few moments of laughable incidents. It is bleak without a purpose. It has characters that are uninteresting and unlikable.