Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo

Directed by: Luc Besson

Synopsis: The Manzoni family, a notorious Mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes a problem, as old habits die hard.

I remember seeing the early word about this film on IMDb when it was titled Malavita, and getting excited about the thought of De Niro playing another gangster role. I was hoping for Goodfellas or Casino, Unfortunately what I got was more Analyze This crossed with Meet The Parents. That’s not to say the film is bad, as it does have some redeeming features, but I just felt this is another ‘lazy’ De Niro film where he doesn’t have to bother. I’d love to have a career overhaul and see the last film Bobby put in a decent, potentially award winning performance, but I really can’t remember the last one.

First things first, this has three top notch performers in it. All of advancing years but all good actors (De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones). So far so good. Next up, it has a fairly decent premise whichever way you look at it. You could say it would be a good drama, about a mafia family under witness protection, only to be found by another crime family. Or you could go another way and also say it sounds like a good idea for a comedy. A mafia family find it hard to get rid of their old ‘habits’ in a small French village. The reality is, the film falls between the two, maybe leaning slightly towards comedy, and as a result, was just kind of, nothing.

There were moments of comedy, followed by lots of blowing things up and guns going off. Personally I think it would have been great to see De Niro ditch the comedy and play this as the straight drama version in my mind. I think that would have been a cool movie. There is even a scene where Bob’s character is watching Goodfellas! Oh the irony (and not to mention the impossibility of De Niro watching De Niro in another film AS SOME ONE ELSE?!!)

Oh well, there’s always the next De Niro flick I guess. Or the next one. Or the one after that. Maybe?

2.5 clappers

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Great review, Thomas! 🙂
    By the way, do you know the series Lilyhammer?

  2. Skipping this one. It looks like Besson’s only film I truly like is Leon: The Professional.. Do you like that one, Tom?

    • Leon is an awesome film Davide, Gary Oldman is totally crazy in it. I agree, Besson hasn’t bettered that movie, and this is no exception!

  3. Good review Thomas. Sometimes, it seemed like it didn’t know whether or not it wanted to be a full-on comedy, a dark comedy, a family drama, a mobster flick, or just a mixture of all of those elements. Sadly though, none of them mixed well at all and just gave us a relatively dull flick.

  4. I wish Di Nero would choose his films more carefully. it’s as if he’s decided to go on vacation and practically phone in the lines. Good review of a picture I’ll be sure to miss.

    • Couldn’t agree more. It’s a shame seeing one of the greats of cinema starring in such mediocre stuff! Oh well, he’s earned the rest I suppose!

  5. Sorry this was such a disappointment! And the original title was much better, in my opinion.

  6. giorge thomas

    Scratch my comment on last blog. Yay! Some nitty drama! De Niro is my Christmas grouch!

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