Film Review: The Family

The family that slays together stays together – with a degree of reluctance – in Luc Besson’s twisted black comedy based on a book by Tonino Benacquista.

Punctuated by scenes of cartoonish violence, The Family razes one sleepy corner of Normandy in its ham-fisted pursuit of big bangs and laughs, but it’s a far, desperate cry from the propulsive energy and intense emotions of Besson’s hit man thriller, Leon,.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Family. Pictured: Robert De Niro.  See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews  Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Family. Pictured: Robert De Niro. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

The family in question comprises of Fred (Robert De Niro), his long-suffering wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their two children, 17-year-old Belle (Dianna Agron) and 14-year-old Warren (John D’Leo), who arrive at their new ramshackle home in the dead of night.

It transpires that the exhausted quartet are the Manzonis from Brooklyn, who have been placed in witness protection under the supervision of FBI handler Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) since snitching on fellow mobster Don Luchese (Stan Carp).

The problem is The Family pretends to be one thing - a giddy whirl of action, thriller and romance – but turns out to be something else entirely: an unholy mess.