This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film A Family, so this will contain major spoilers.
Netflix’s A Family, originally titled Yakuza and the Family, was written and directed by Michihito Fujii (The Brightest Roof in the Universe). Ready Steady Cut film critic, M.N. Miller, called Fujii’s film “A killer gangster epic!”
Netflix’s A Family ending explained.
Fujii’s film is much more than a crime thriller. It takes place for over twenty years. Each person’s choice is like the waters that flow over and shape rocks in a stream for decades and affect generations. By the film’s bloody conclusion, Kenji (Go Ayano) has decided to put an end to it all. He doesn’t want to see the little boy, Tsubasa (Hayato Isomura), who he had doted on as a small child, make the same mistake he did by avenging his father.
So, the love of his life, Yuka (Machiko Ono), leaves him. She also takes the daughter he just found out about and was conceived the day before he went to prison. He now takes matters into his own hands. Kenji beats Tsubasa to the restaurant where the head of organized crime, Detective Osako (Ryo Iwamatsu), tells him where the killers are. He beats them to death with a baseball bat, ending the Yakuza cycle of violence before it consumes Tsubasa from having a life of his own.
Kenji, bloodied, sitting on a dock overlooking the water, is about to leave when someone violently stabs him with a sharp katana. Kenji is done for, but we still don’t see the man’s face until it is finally revealed; it’s Hosono (Yakuza Apocolypse’s Hayato Ichihara). Why did he kill his friend? Because he spent five years after leaving the Yakuza struggling, then he built himself a normal life. What these men could never have and now regret, deeply. When Kenji came back, someone took a picture of them and put it on social media to see with a headline about the former gangsters are now working stiffs. This caused great shame for Hosono’s wife. She leaves him and takes his child with her.
What Happens Next
Tsubasa leaves flowers on the dock, mourning the only father figure he has ever known. When a young woman comes up and asks him if he knew her father. Tsubasa is taken back by this, and it dawns on him who she is. He finally realizes what Kenji did. He stopped the cycle of endless violence. This now only allowed him to lead a Yakuza-free life but Kenji’s daughter as well.