In “A Family,” director Michihito Fujii’s original script combines a yakuza actioner with a family drama. This is not the oil-and-water mix it might seem to be — after all, the “Godfather” films are also about family, despite the high body counts.

Absent in “The Godfather,” however, is the over-the-top sentimentalism that is endemic to the family drama genre in Japan, Fujii’s film included. The difference is due to directorial and cultural sensibility and, if you’re being cynical, box-office calculation. The list of Japanese dramas that became hits by targeting their audience's tear ducts is long.

Is that the case with “A Family,” though? Fujii made his critical and commercial breakthrough in 2019 with “The Journalist,” an award-winning hit that was daring in its critique of current Japanese politics. A manipulative hack he is not.