Friday, September 13, 2013
Long time film buffs remember a time when a Robert DeNiro film was an event. In all likelihood it was something worth seeing. But somewhere along the way over the last 10 or 15 years he began to taint his brand with too many unmemorable thrillers and an overload of gangster and cop roles. But every once in a while I get a reminder of what a great actor he can be when he's in the right role, with good material, and a great writer/director and executive producer. In this case, that is Luc Besson and Martin Scorsese respectively. Sure, DeNiro plays yet another gangster. This time he and his family, including his wife played by Michelle Pfeiffer, are in the witness protection program, holed up in Normandy, by the FBI led by Tommy Lee Jones. On paper, that all sounds as flat as any of the lesser roles of DeNiro's recent past. And yet this one feels fresh. Maybe it's just the right team along with a bit of Hollywood magic. Or maybe it's just what the doctor ordered for me after a week of seeing so-so films. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's 'Goodfellas' meets 'My Blue Heaven'. And I don't care what other critics say. It's a lot of fun.