Director: Ric Roman Waugh Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper Running Time: 112 Minutes Year: 2013
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has taken to donning the everyman crown in recent roles with an assurance you can’t believe belongs to a chap who was once a wrestler. It’s his affable nature which lends films like Snitch a watchable onscreen persona.
Snitch‘s opening thirty minutes unpack the story, no messing about. In an affluent neighbourhood, teenager Jason Collins signs for a large shipment of drugs in the mail from a friend, despite telling his mate he’s not interested. Seconds later the DEA bust down the door, he’s thrown in the slammer and looking at ten years inside unless he can roll on a drug associate.
This is where The Rock comes in to save the day, as Jason’s estranged father, John Matthews who’ll do anything to save his son’s future. Even begging at the feet of a Federal Prosecutor. Packing in the great Susan Sarandon should guarantee a dramatic weightiness to this drug cartel thriller – and the scenes in which her Federal Prosecutor appears do pop with a touch of venom. Her lean onscreen time does leave the rest lacking, as the supporting cast simply don’t get enough material to chew on. Barry Pepper’s DEA agent sports a distracting beard you want to go at with a bread knife and The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal has the skill to lose himself in his character, it’s just a shame he’s a little dull.
The story itself is an interesting one, based on true events. It takes inspiration from legislation which predicates that when a first time offender is caught with a quantity of drugs large enough for distribution….an example is made of them. It’s a harsh rule, which incites the entire film to propel into the realms of the unthinkable: what would you do to save your child from a lifetime in prison?
“Packing in the great Susan Sarandon should guarantee a dramatic weightiness to this drug cartel thriller – and the scenes in which her Federal Prosecutor appears do pop with a touch of venom.”
What’s hard to swallow is the convenient alignment of many outside factors, playing into John’s fatherly mission with ease. Would he have been able to dive into the world of drug mafiosos (much like Breaking Bad’s Walter White) had he not been the owner of a construction company who happened to have received two brand new semis? Probably not. But that doesn’t matter, as his very presence in the film prompts an urge to kick arse and stomp about.
The fact that the entire film hinges on a lot of extraordinary coincidences syncing up, draws attention to a number of inconsistencies. Why does the giant drug baron El Topo know all about John’s family, but hasn’t the gumption to have him followed? How does a family man all of a sudden garner the ability to outwit a fleet of experienced criminals? Too much of the action is born from unlikely situations.
Snitch should serve as the final octane-fuelled role Johnson takes for a while, which only cements him further into the action man he tackles so well. It’s time for him to take his machismo elsewhere and show us what else he’s got.[vsw id=”9M1dkvdCUGU” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]