Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rafi Gavron, Nadine Velazquez, Melina Kanakaredes, Benjamin Bratt, David Harbour, Harold Perrineau
When Jason (Rafi Gavron) is arrested on drug charges that are not really called for, his father John (Dwayne Johnson) tries to bargain with the prosecution to get his sentence reduced. But the prosecution is quite unwilling to help. It’s only when John offers to basically go undercover for them and get some bigger fish arrested, that they agree to help. So John asks his employee and ex-con Daniel (Jon Bernthal) for an introduction into the drug world and soon finds himself a little in over his head.
Snitch isn’t a great movie. But it is quite ok and surprisingly full of social criticism.
I went into this film with rather the wrong expectations (admittedly, I wasn’t very well informed). I thought it was gonna be a fun The Rock movie, with silliness and explosions and very little brain activity. It’s actually a serious film about an issue, dressed up as a action movie. Thankfully, I was able to adjust my expectations in time to still enjoy the film. (Contrary to The Grey, for example.)
And once you know what the film is like, you can actually appreciate it for what it does. It openly calls out the bullshit drug laws that exist in the USA (and that really make no sense whatsoever, at least not to me). It shows how hard it can be to get back on your feet and stay clean after you served time. It even problematizes in-jail-violence. It’s not always very subtle about it or takes the time to really show the complex layers and John was certainly styled up to be an absolute hero way too much for my taste (you could go out of this film and not question his behavior but actually, it’s incredibly problematic), but what I’m saying is A for effort.
Unfortunately the movie does drag a little bit. Over all the social conciousness, the pacing was a little forgotten. Plus, the script’s ending felt a little too clean to me. Everything was resolved quickly and easily, but only if you don’t look too closely at what’s going on. And the direction was a little too on the nose, too. You should not telegraph your plot twists that much in advance.
Rather enjoyable, though, was the cast. Not only Dwayne Johnson, who gets to actually act and isn’t all bad at it, but also Susan Sarandon of course and Barry Pepper, even if he’s constantly upstaged by his (fake?) beard. And Benjamin Bratt obviously just had fun with his role and hams it up to 11+. But that’s not really enough to absolutely make the movie worth it.
Summarising: If it’s on TV and you have nothing better to do, it is pretty watchable.