When you want to cast a film that's at all related to the mafia, you always go to Robert DeNiro. Luc Besson's most recent movie, The Family (alternately called the more sonorous Malavita) highlights the aftermath of a family whose patriarch, Giovanni Manzoni (DeNiro), has snitched on his crime boss. As a result, Manzoni and his family are placed under the careful watch of the witness protection program, led by FBI agent Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones). Looking real mafioso.

Based on French crime writer Tonino Benacquista's novel Malavita, The Family is positioned as more of a farcical take on life after the mafia. That is to say, since escaping the clutches of gangsters is nearly impossible, life for the newly renamed Blake family is largely dull--especially since they also hate French people and are likewise hated by them. After moving from their secret location on the French Riviera, Agent Stansfield moves the Blakes to a small town in Normandy that Giovanni's wife, Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), daughter, Belle (Diana Agron), and son, Warren (John D'Leo), all instantly loathe.


As each family member tries to navigate their new banal lives in the countryside, the imprisoned crime boss that Giovanni wronged grows closer and closer to tracking him down. With so little to do to occupy their time, Giovanni begins writing a confessional memoir of his time in the mafia, Maggie tries to fill her time by shopping at supermarkets that only sell ingredients she hates (they're not Italian enough), Belle pursues a crush on her math teacher and Warren causes trouble at school by finding every student's weak point.

Maggie blows up the supermarket after some French people make fun of the cuisine Americans eat.

The neuroses of the family continue to reach a crescendo in terms of how they react to undesirable situations--generally through violence. Although Giovanni has toned down his murderous tendencies, he still fantasizes about beating the shit out of people, and even actually does it to the town's only plumber when he tries to give Giovanni the run around about the true cause behind why his faucet water is coming out brown.


There is also a meta moment when one of Giovanni's neighbors invites him to speak at a monthly film society, wherein Goodfellas is screened. Incidentally, the 2010 English translation of Benacquista's novel was called Badfellas. As The Family reaches its typically Besson denouement (that is to say, laden with plenty of carnage), you start to realize how much fun you've had watching the plot unfold--Besson rarely disappoints in giving his audiences a good time.