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Film Review: The Family (Malavita)

Directed by: Luc Besson
Produced by: Europe Corp
Based on the book by: Tonino Benacquista
Starring : Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones
 
FBI is solely responsible for protecting the identity of the witness as a family by giving them new identities and safe shelter. In this movie Giovanni Manzoni is given a new name Fred Blake with his wife, Maggie, and their teenage children Belle and Warren. Fred is a veteran former gangster who betrayed the Mafia Don Luchese causing the Godfather languishing in jail forever. After all, with his power, Luchese continues to spread threads to finish off the Manzoni family. Then it is the duty of FBI agent Robert Stansfield to continue to move Manzoni family from city to city over the last ten years.

Story begins when they arrive in Normandy, France. Giovanni pretends to be an author at work on a WWII book. Wherever they came, there will always be chaos, explosions, and even murder by murder.

For the American distribution the film is entitled The Family, but the novel is Malavita, written by Benacquista Torino, and written to screenplay by director Luc Besson, a top French filmmaker known for La Femme Nikita and Leon. While the producer is none other than Martin Scorsese the famous filmmaker of hard gangster movies.

The main player, Robert De Niro, has worked with Scorsese in many of his previous films including Godfellas and Casino. Of course the legendary unforgettable acting in The Godfather Part II, Once Upon a Time in America, and The Untouchables. Even now in the age of 70, the actor who was born in New York, August 17, 1943 is showing off his skills.
Role as his wife is the caliber actress Michelle Pfeiffer. Meanwhile, the FBI agent also is well played by veteran actor, Tommy Lee Jones. The eldest daughter Dianna Agron, who originally was aged 27, but was able to play a role in as a 17 years old, and the younger brother played by John D' Leo.

This is the culmination of the work of Besson as a gangster movie filmmaker, not only because it is played by three top artists, but also the direction on a scene by scene with the flavor of humor that tickles the tension that crept like a poisonous snake. His skill is evident in the small scenes that were filmic, like the arrival of old newspapers from Normandy to Singsing prison in New York. The four Manzoni family members that appear to be calm actually have a terrible madness. See how Blake beats the plumber, Maggie blow up a mini market with gas, Belle brakes the student with tennis racket, Warren with violence soon occupies his high school.
In the witness protection program Manzoni family may look like a normal family but it is impossible to change the characters inside! After all, above all evil, the unity of the family is always the number one priority. For fans of action - thriller - gangster - sarcasm, do not miss this movie. This is going to be a classic.

But wait, what exactly is the meaning of the title Malavita? Sorry for the spoiler, but that's the name of the family German shepherd pet that has been together with the Manzony since the beginning.

Written by Senior Journalist Yan Widjaya
Edited by TFR
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    The Film Reporter 2013-2015