SYNOPSIS: In the fast-paced action thriller SNITCH, Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission -- risking everything, including his family and his own life.
REVIEW: Director/co-writer Ric Roman Waugh (Felon, 2008) brings us this Hollywood version of a film “inspired by true events.” His efforts basically shine a light on a tactic, put in the arsenal of the War on Drugs where authorities encourage snitching on accomplices, presumably so the Feds can daisy-chain their way from small potatoes to big-time dealers. This method apparently was all the brain-child of Mrs. Nancy Reagan, in a by-gone era, when her husband declared war on the drug epidemic. Whether it’s ethical, relevant in today’s society or not, can be interpreted in different ways and in viewing this flick, I would say that there are more questions than answers.
I think one of the most surprising things about this flick is how Waugh, having started his career as a stuntman from a family of stuntmen, was able to show that "Snitch" is, for the most part, a drama and not the action movie that the poster and the trailers would want to make one believe it is. It is certainly a very touching story with an undertow of character analysis and a “docu-drama” air to it. Maybe, the ability to make a purely a typical Hollywood blockbuster, would have taken away from the essence of the story, hence, I would imagine that the hybrid feel to it was purposeful and well thought out.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays John Matthews, a father who gives new meaning to the word “desperate” and is certainly determined not to let his son rot in jail, for what he believes to be a simple adolescent mis-step. With his character, John Matthews, being the wealthy suburban-dweller and owner of a construction company, who’s a divorced and remarried father of two, I found it a little difficult to be convinced that The Rocky’s action-hero persona was perfect for the role. He simply didn’t play the role of a non-tough-guy very well and only became very convincing once the action took hold in triumphant parts of the flick. Pulling the strings here is federal prosecutor Joanne Keegan (Susan Sarandon), who plans to parlay the drug conviction into a successful political career. She's assisted by DEA Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper), whose long, scrawny beard makes him look like a ZZ Top reject. However, the role that really seems to steal the spot-light is that of Daniel James (Jon Bernthal [The Walking Dead, 2010]), who has been twice convicted on narcotics charges and is a reluctant participant in introducing Matthews to a heavy-hitting drug dealer. He adds a nice touch of street grit and credibility to the premise of the movie and without his added touch, the movie would have simply played out as more of a documentary. I really liked his varied levels of emotion and action his talents brought to the flick.
Taken on its own merits, "Snitch" is a solid, small-scale story about what a father is willing to do to help correct an injustice he sees landing on his teenage son after he makes an inexcusably stupid mistake and is very much an ethical docu-drama wrapped in a façade of action. I think it deserves three and a half stars out of five for substance and quality of message.
By Movi-Man Stan
MOVIE REVIEWS >>>