Snitch (2013) is just another entry is a long line of films from this year that have failed to impress when it comes to mainstream releases. I chose to see it mainly to up my quota of films I’ve seen from this year as opposed to any other reason. It’s an american crime drama from Ric Roman Waugh (Felon, In the Shadows). It stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who’s been all over the place in leading roles recently. However, casting an actor like him as a lead, whilst trying to lure audiences in with the old catch-all ‘based on true events’ is a somewhat contradictory plan. That’s definitely who I’d choose in a cautionary drama about drugs and parenting, The Rock. Yep, nothing wrong with that choice. At all.
The film starts as Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) is told by his friend he’s sending another shipment of MDMA to his house, as he can’t fly with it, as he’s a drug dealer. In true cautionary fashion, Jason refuses, but Craig sends them anyway. The package arrives, as Jason accepts it, he opens the box to find the pills, with a tracking device underneath. The door is knocked down as agents from the DEA burst in and arrest Jason. Jason could be facing up to 10 years, as his friend Craig sold him out in order to reduce his sentence even though Jason was just a carrier, and had no intention to sell. Jason’s father John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson) feels guilty for his son as he was never there for him after he left his mother. He plans to reduce his son’s sentence himself as he arranges a plan with Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper), after getting permission from local U.S attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon). With the help of one of his employees with 2 former convictions Daniel James (Joe Bernthal), John Matthews plans to go undercover headfirst into the seedy underworld of narcotics.
The concept was fine, but the message it clearly was trying to convey was bizarre. The film tries to bestow blame upon Jason even though he refused to Craig in the first place, though he didn’t listen. John cleaned up his son’s mess almost getting killed several times in the process. Daniel who was just trying to help his boss and protect his family, was forced out of his home and forced to go on the run, regardless of the fresh clean start he originally embarked on. While the film seemingly tries to be an indictment of the system that falsely imprisoned Jason, yet the same system was lenient enough to allow his father to intervene. Thus the film harbors an odd mish-mash of ideologies that don’t really glue. When there’s not much emotional context or ideological, you peel back the layers and you’re left with an okay action film, albeit slightly generic.
Dwayne is vaguely okay as John Matthews, but the actor didn’t really matter, there wasn’t much to work with in terms of script. I see why you would want to attach The Rock to something as an attempt to feign star power, but when trying to make a touching story based on real events, a sensationalist actor like Dwayne from the dramatic land of Pro Wrestling no less seems vastly inappropriate. It just immediately eliminates any realism maintained in the very cliche script, and projects the qualities you expect from Dwayne’s movies. However Joe Bernthal (usually known as Shane from The Walking Dead) added some much needed drama into the film. Overall, I’d probably say give Snitch a miss. There’s nothing immediately bad, or unwatchable about it, it just struggled to maintain my attention and bring anything new or interesting to the table. Adios amigos, and follow me @Sams_Reel_Views.