For anyone expecting a badass movie based on the poster, which is much too similar in treatment to other Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s starrers, this is definitely not the movie to deliver. Snitch, unfortunately, is a crime drama that masquerades as an action movie based on the merit of its lead star, and offers pretty much an hour an a half of talk, plotting and a lot of sighing.
John Matthews (Johnson) is a successful businessman engaged in the construction business, but his success in his career cost him his first marriage, a failure which he is trying to correct with his new family. When his son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is set up by his best friend who is involved in a drug cartel, John does his best to get his son out of jail, and makes a deal with ambitious US attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) to take down the cartel by becoming a mole, endangering not only himself and his family but also the life of his worker Daniel (Jon Bernthal, The Walking Dead), a reformed drug dealer who wants to turn over a new leaf for his wife and child.
My initial reaction to the film as soon as I finished it was that I was duped into sitting in the cinema while Johnson tried his damndest to prove that aside from being a kickass action star, that he also had acting chops to boot. A fact that I can’t argue with because the dude certainly knows how to act. However, I had a major problem by how this movie was presented, because I felt that it was half baked for whatever genre it would wish to categorize itself in.
It felt as if the filmmakers were unsure if they were going to go all out with the drama, which would have made the entire movie into a snoozefest, or if they were going to scatter some random action scenes and car chases that barely sustained any momentum.
I appreciated the fact that there was an attempt to provide a central plotline that connected the characters together, like fathers’ love — John for his son Jason, Daniel (Jon Bernthal) with his son, and even the drug lord El Topo (Benjamin Bratt) with his own son, but somehow, this also fell flat and ineffective because it seemed like the stories were too compartmentalized and presented independently from each other despite the connection implied.
I think what was lacking in the movie was a sense of suspense. Everybody was expecting Johnson to save the day because that is what he is known for. He was a victim of his reputation in this case. It would have worked as a drama so much more if he had experienced a tragedy in the ending. It would have driven home the point of the injustices committed against young offenders much better than a text before the credits.
By the way, kudos to Barry Pepper, a really underrated actor for his performance as Agent Cooper. I felt that he was the most relatable character of the lot, compared to his A-list co-stars.
All in all, Snitch drowned itself too much in the idea of making a drama that is similar in impact to Hurt Locker, or American History X, t it failed to incorporate all of the elements that made the first two films a success. Instead, it focused on capturing its lead star’s varied looks of torture and stress and hoped that this alone would fly with the audience. Unfortunately, it did not impress. This may have been the worst The Rock movie that I’ve seen.