A naïve youth unwittingly gets sent to jail after opening a box of narcotics, and his 10-year mandatory minimum sentence can only be reduced if he rats out somewhere else. Enter his equally naïve but brawny father to find a bigger fish to jail by going undercover on a drug run.
Who’s in It?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is the emoting father John Matthews determined to save his son, it’s Susan Sarandon as the political prosecutor, Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) as an unwilling accomplice, and the Barry Pepper as a fabulously bearded cop who are the most interesting in the film, or rather, the only thing interesting in the film.
Those ominous words appear on the screen at the beginning of the film, and in this case, as in so many others, it would be more apt to read: ‘uninspired by true events’. An earnest yet weak attempt at a familial drama, Snitch meanders, and only a handful of the actors in the film can offer enough to make you care in the least at the fate of the young imprisoned son.
The Rock tries hard as he might, and while it may be a bit refreshing to see him play the average everyman that has neither superhero strength nor endless charm, those the two traits he does best. If he isn’t fighting Vin Diesel, walking tall, or taking a band of adorable kids on an adventure, then he needs to be backed up by far stronger writing and direction.
Both are sorely lacking, and the onslaught of intimate close ups don’t work as often as they’re wanted to in a movie that is far more soap opera that feature film. There are some striking moments, especially when we see an increasingly bruised and battered son talking to his helpless father behind prison glass. The likely culprit or culprits are nearby, and Matthews tells his son not to cry, and he is likely telling himself not to show emotion either, trying with all his might to keep his compuse.
Those moments are few and far between, and are seen more from Bernthal than anyone else. Unfortunately the film drags, and the finale should come sooner—and shouldn’t be the finale. This is because so much (read: too much) time spent on trying to make us care about too many people. We meet the father, his son, his ex-wife, his new wife, his young daughter, his trucking business, his new employee with a past, that employee’s family; we’re made to care so much because of all this, but instead it just makes us bored. And then we meet the cartel, and are forced to understand its own hierarchy. And corrupt cops. It’s exhausting, which is strange, because nothing happens during this slow and steady melodrama.
Should You See It?
Not really (though it’s not like there is much out there at the moment), but the last 20 minutes are exciting. Then again, you can catch most of that action from the trailer.
In a hilarious attempt at mindless rage, a furious Johnson remarks (in utter randomness) to his wife after he hears a noise outside: “Are the sprinklers on?! Does everything have to go to s**t?!”