In Review: Snitch

by Alan Simmons on 19/06/2013


When John Matthews’s son gets set up for drug dealing by a classmate he is offered two choices: snitch on another friend to reduce the sentence or get banged up for a long time. Refusing to rat out his buddy, it looks like the kid’s going to rot. That is until Dad goes to the D.A. (Susan Sarandon) with a movie scenario type deal: let him go undercover and narc on some dealers on his son’s behalf.

Why can I smell baby oil? It’s because the Samoan Thor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is already back, fresh from sweating and jumping duties on Fast & Furious 6 , to play a role meant for a man a third of his size. There are two large problems with casting Dwayne as John Matthews. Firstly, it gives the audience a false expectation, especially post-Fast & Furious Six that The Rock vs. drug dealers is going to be action packed, and it isn’t. For the most part, The Rock spends the film flinching, hiding or running away. Snitch is about tension and trust, not bang and wallop.

Secondly, you know, it’s THE ROCK. A scumbag gets all up in your face with a gun? Stare him down then chuck him out the window. Your son’s in jail and they won’t let you see him? Walk through that wall, Hulk style, and grab his ass up. Sorry, Dwayne, you’ve got acting chops – I believe that you’re upset about your boy and you’ll do anything to get him out, but YOU’RE MASSIVE and all the long shirt sleeves to cover you up and huge cars for you to drive around in can’t disguise that fact.

This size 15 misstep is a real shame, as the rest of the supporting cast are perfick. Sarandon is wonderful as a difficult to trust D.A., even if she does give us an unexpected glimpse at her “O” face. Barry Pepper, bedecked in a ZZ Top beard, plays a DEA agent worthy of a film of his own, and Shane from The Walking Dead (Jon Bernthal) is an ex-con dragged back into the game by The Rock, who elicits more audience sympathy than the big guy himself.

A lean little thriller that’s hamstrung by central miscasting, Snitch is tense but hard to believe – bit of a problem for a film “based on true events”.

Alan has awarded Snitch three Torches of Truth


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