Family Business [1989]

This 1989 film, directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon) brings together three notable actors in a story of generational and familial loyalty and crime. While ultimately a somewhat thin story, the film succeeds in great measure because of its powerful actors, who rise above the implausible casting to play three generations of men (Scottish, Italian, and Jewish) who each in their own way try to deny their roots. Matthew Broderick plays Adam, an MIT scholar who yearns for more excitement from life. He enlists the aid of his grandfather Jesse (Sean Connery)--a tough, lifelong thief--to steal some biological materials for a big payoff. But Adam's father, Vito (Dustin Hoffman), who went straight to get away from Jesse's lifestyle and to provide a stable life for his son, finds himself dragged back into Jesse's criminal world in order to protect Adam. When the heist goes sour, Vito must decide where his true loyalties lie. The whole affair has a light, breezy atmosphere to it, but the performances give this film weight and make it a worthwhile diversion. --Robert Lane

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