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April 11, 2014
The Family Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
8/8/201329/1/2014Village Roadshow Rob Epstein
Luc Besson
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Robert De Niro

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Robert De Niro stars in The Family.

Luc Besson is a cinematic master who has given us, through directing, writing and/or producing, some great films including The Fifth Element, The Professional, The Transporter and Taken. Throw in a cast for The Family which includes Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones and Martin Scorsese as an Executive Producer and this stacks up as a very exciting prospect.

In The Family, a Mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the Witness Protection Program after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield’s (Tommy Lee Jones) best efforts to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children can’t help resorting to old habits by handling their problems the "family" way. Chaos ensues when their former Mafia cronies try to track them down.

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Michelle Pfeiffer as ex mob-wife Maggie.
While this film is headlined by Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, and they both do decent jobs in their roles somewhat surprisingly it is Dianna Agron (yes, the actress from Glee) as the daughter Belle that was the standout for us. Looking like the sweet, innocent girl, she has some great lines and can be more then brutal. Not quite up to that standard but also impressive is John D'Leo as their son Warren. Unfortunately Tommy Lee Jones is massively underutilized in the film. It's great that he's there, and we love him as an actor, but it seems like a missed opportunity.

There are also a couple of moments in the film which are quite gruesome, not least of which when a character gets dragged behind a car - he's pretty messed up and it's not a pretty sight while the shootout at the end of the film, which is pretty well put together we might add, also has a few brutal moment. Then again, the film is rated MA15+ in Australia with a "Strong Violence" warning so, well, be warned.

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Dianna Agron and John D'Leo are great in The Family.
The Family certainly doesn't rank among the best films for either the director, or actors, but it was a nice way to fill in a couple of hours with some entertaining moments and decent dialogue to get you through the 110 minute film.

This Blu-Ray disc presents The Family in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio with an AVC MPEG-4 encoding which is actually pretty decent overall with plenty of scenes with fine detail - in particular take note of facial hair on Robert De Niro - while the transfer handles darker scenes fairly well too. Generally the film has a natural look to it, with a slightly warm look to the image overall. Some parts of the film are intentionally stylized (such as scenes with a sepia tone) to reflect different eras but these too look fantastic.

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On occasion, The Family can be quite brutal.
The Family is primarily a dialogue based film with moments of infrequent action. As a result, and for the most part, there is very little to complain about with this lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track. Indeed the filmmakers have provided great sound prioritization and some use of surround sound channels - with the sound field really livening up in the action sequences towards the end of the film. We do have to say though that outside these few action sequences, and certainly during the quieter scenes, the sound field does become quite flat with little use of the surround sound channels.

Beyond the primary lossless audio track the disc does contain an English Descriptive track encoded in Dolby Digital at 640kbps. A single subtitle track is all that is available as well but it's accurate to the dialogue with only minor shortening, but coloured according to who is talking.

When you start this disc, and after the legal mumbo jumbo, you will be presented with trailers for A Case of You (2:15) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2:20). As for extras related to The Family, the extras are minimal at best.

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Dianna Agron's role in The Family is as far removed from that in Glee as could be.
Making The Family (10:17/HD): This is a brief look at the making of the film with interviews with cast and crew and on-set footage. There's nothing too groundbreaking here, but a few moments that may hold your interest.

The Many Meanings of Fu%! (1:15/HD): A pretty funny little montage on how many ways you can say this expletive.

The Family is a decent, if uninspiring film, that will fill a few hours, but is unlikely to be remembered for too long. The audio visual presentation is decent enough but the discs lacks extras to make this anything more than a rental for most.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.