The Family – Trailer Talk
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones
Tagline: Some call it organized crime. Others call it family.
A family escaping from a bigger family (the mob). Exotic locales, Americans living out stereotypes, Deniro getting violent. Explosions!
We’ve got Robert Deniro, the Rolling Stones, and hip 70s clothes.
But that’s not all! We’ve also got italian-ish character actors:
But a trailer that starts with a mob picnic doesn’t end with a mafia dessert down at the Olive Garden. We transition to part 2 of the trailer with a gunshot. Which, incidentally, is the second most popular transition sound effect behind a record scratch (and just barely ahead of a door slamming).
Cue vaguely Italian music and bearded Deniro.
People in movies only grow beards for three reasons: 1) to show the passage of time, 2) to hide a disfiguring scar, and 3) to show they’re poor and can’t afford a 39 cent razor from CVS.
It’s a witness protection movie! It’s a fish out of water movie! It’s My Blue Heaven with kids and bigger explosions and no Rick Moranis.
Oh right, the kids.
We have the son, Foreshadowing McGee:
And his sister, Punchyoface Sundress:
Fun characters, but there’s one thing that lots of these films do that boggles my mind. Here, see if you can guess:
This film subscribes to the “Kermit & Miss Piggy” school of thought when it comes to procreation. The girls will look like the mother, the boys like the father. Because otherwise, how will we know they’re really their kids unless they’re miniature versions of the parents. Obviously.
Let’s not forget Michelle Pfeiffer as the protective mother:
And Tommy Lee Jones as Tommy Lee Jones:
Since this is a fish out of water film, we see the family out of their element. They encounter rude French people!
They have trouble at school, they don’t fit in. But that’s ok. There’s no problem a little American style violence can’t solve. Let the family show you how to properly deal with international relations (hint: it’s mostly punching).
Since this is a witness protection movie as well, the bad guys will find our heroes and chaos will ensue.
Trailer Act III
Here comes the mob!
It’s easy to identify the mob, btw. They wear black suits, hats, and they’re always shooting up your neighborhood.
Except for this guy:
All of this is a slow burn for Deniro, who we’ve only seen up to this point chatting with Tommy Lee Jones through his beard. Not exactly stabbing someone in the trunk of a car level stuff. But they promise a bit of payoff:
Fewer films have used full voiceovers for trailers in recent years. More seem to use text (title cards) interspersed throughout. This one opts for a beginning voiceover by Deniro and then moves things forward with 3 distinct songs, lots of loud noises, and no title cards. A voice over or text would have broken up the very deliberate flow of the trailer. Besides, no one wants to read for a movie like this, and why say something over your star who can say it better himself?
From the makers of
Not to be confused with “Academy Award Nominee ________” plastered at the top of the screen. This is where they tell you what the producers/writers/director has done in the past so you know their resume. Here they go with:
From Executive Producer Martin Scorsese
To show that they’re serious about the mobster angle. And to convince you that Deniro didn’t just roll out of bed with a 2 week beard and decide to star in a movie.
And, near the end, they hit you with:
Just in case people weren’t sure who Luc Besson was, they give you a few more hints:
At this point they’re hoping you’re flashing back to La Femme Nikita and The Professional (Leon). Just in case that didn’t sink in, here’s this:
Over the top action with a good bit of humor thrown in. Closer to The Fifth Element than Taken, but they don’t want to confuse people with genres.
Clearly this movie appeals to those who like their action with some comedy, like their comedy with some violence, and don’t take things too seriously. Enough mafia menace to evoke Goodfellas, but not so much that we’re afraid Joe Pesci is gonna show up and shoot a kid for mouthing off.