Saturday, March 09, 2013


Year: 2013
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jon Bernthal, Barry Pepper, Michael K. Williams, Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Bratt

Plot: When his son is caught and sentenced to 10 years in prison for simply opening a package filled with drugs, John Matthews attempts to save him by becoming an informant for the DA in a plan to nab a wanted drug kingpin.

Review: If you walk into Snitch expecting an action film, you'd be disappointed. It stars action man Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and has an action movie type poster, but this isn't an action film, not till the last 20 minutes anyway.

Director Ric Roman Waugh's film is basically a story about fathers and what they would do for their kids, except this isn't the kind you'd see on the Hallmark Channel. Snitch highlights the law in existence as far as the war on drugs in concerned, which isn't lenient at all, even to first time offenders. In this case, the protagonist's son was set up by his friend who cut a deal with the DEA in order to get a lighter sentence. The problem is, this kid isn't a drug dealer, just a boy who made a dumb move on the wrong day of the week.

Facing the thought of seeing his son get beat up by his fellow inmates behind bars, John Matthews attempts to get the DA the real big fish: by pretending to be someone who can provide transportation for the dealers. That means putting his life on the line doing something he isn't used to.

In this role, Johnson puts in a low key yet effective performance as John. Normally he would be kicking ass and taking names, but here he plays a regular Joe who just wants to help his son get out of jail. It's a surprising turn from Johnson, but he does it very well, as you'll be rooting for him all the way. Jon Bernthal from The Walking Dead is also great as John's employee Daniel, whose past criminal background allows him to give his boss an introduction to the dealers. Bernthal's Daniel is also a father, one who is trying to get his life back on track, and is very convincing in his reluctance to help John. Barry Pepper puts on a goatee to play a sympathetic DEA agent and nails the role, with Susan Sarandon being effectively cold as the unsympathetic DA. Benjamin Bratt also gets a nice turn as the drug kingpin, but he is underused here.

On a whole, Waugh paces the film well enough despite not having much action in it (not that it's about action anyway), but the film does suffer from having a few things being too convenient, like how John gets the cartel's trust so easily. The ending also feels a tad Hollywood-ish, but the solid drama throughout the film makes up for that.

Snitch is a nice change of pace for The Rock, showing that he can be a serious actor if given a chance. If you like a film with solid acting, give this a try. (3.5/5)

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