Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson shows off his acting chops, rather than his muscles in Snitch. The former wrestler gives a good performance – it’s a shame that the movie is so flat.
Johnson plays John Matthews, a family man who runs a successful construction business. He has the ideal life in that blue-collar type way that only exists in Hollywood movies (although we’re told it’s based on a true story). However, his world comes crashing down when wayward son, Jason (Rafi Gavron) faces ten long years of eating slop and avoiding shower-time after an arrest for drug trafficking. Johnson’s father with a heart of gold makes a deal with the DA (Susan Sarandon) to bring his son home sooner. However, he must step out of his comfort zone to take down a huge drug baron (Benjamin Bratt) and his middle-man (The Wire’s Michael K. Wlliams – no type casting here). It sounds like a recipe for some old-school Schwarzenegger-sized action, but sadly what we get is a rather flaccid family drama with a little bit of gunfire and Johnson driving a large truck. That’s hardly mucho macho.
Dwayne Johnson shows that he’s a good actor with Snitch; it’s a shame that he’s simply miscast. He’s too physically imposing to be intimidated, yet we’re meant to believe that he’s out of his depth. It would be more plausible if someone like Mark Wahlberg had been cast in the role. Johnson never feels like he’s in danger. Sadly, he’s not helped by a story that feels like a first draft, like it needs another three rewrites to beef-up the dramatics. Barry Pepper puts in a good turn as a cop, but Susan Sarandon feels a bit one note as the DA with brass cajones.
Snitch is a film that has “deep” conversations where people talk about ‘having character’ and ‘learning life lessons’. It’s all very ‘TV movie meets mid-90s straight-to-video actioner’. It’s a perfectly competent film – it looks okay and it features good performances but that doesn’t really cut it when it comes to a thriller without thrills.
The features for Snitch are rather good. The deleted scenes aren’t particularly great, but the documentaries are pretty detailed and the commentary is informative, if dull. If you love the movie, you’ll love the features but I don’t think Snitch is threatening anybody’s top ten list.