Snitch, movie #3 in my series of ‘Because I watched…’ sees Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in one of the only roles where he actually gets a beat down, albeit a four on one, and a baseball bat. The movie opens with Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) skyping with his best friend and reluctantly agreeing to receive a package containing MDMA. When he gets caught up in a drug trafficking charge his estranged father John Matthews (Johnson) becomes personally involved when he convinces the DA Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) to let him go undercover and assist in bringing big names in the illegal drug industry within the grasp of the DEA.
Snitch uses the flawed American criminal justice system as its basis for growth and while it may avoid some of the bigger questions it’s constructed pretty well with a clear flowing plotline that entertains from start to finish. It does have a fairly lengthy running time, just shy of 2 hours which stumbles along in places with father son scenes that feel like an added after thought. While the main motive for helping the DA is to save his son it feels more like America manipulated Matthews into risking his life in a losing battle. Although he recognises that the only way to help his son is to assist the police in catching major drug players he is reluctant to accept that this is the only option.
The mandatory minimum sentence laws for a first time offender in a drug trafficking case promise the suspect a reduced sentence if he aids the police in their war on drugs by snitching on known drug associates, ideally drug dealers and suppliers. When Jason takes the moral high ground, accepts his punishment and refuses to snitch his father takes the burden of responsibility to do all he can to help his son.
As the head of a construction business he has the means and business acumen to negotiate a business deal with a known drug pusher by the name of Malik and navigate the criminal underworld. There are obviously better actors out there but I think the casting was near spot on. With a few scenes feeling like they’ve been pulled straight from a GTA storyline the action is certainly entertaining but being an American movie it couldn’t be seen to lose a fictional tale on the war on drugs so despite the suspenseful elements and the authoritative indecision it has a rather predictable closing third that fails to go above and beyond the call of duty that leaves us satisfied but distracted from the real issues here.
It’s certainly worth a watch if you’re into crime action and fancy seeing Johnson in a slightly reserved role as an everyman. While it isn’t particularly ground breaking film-making I don’t have any real issues and I think anything bigger, with a more expensive budget and big name stars would have taken something away from the simplicity of the story. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that it is full of cliché from the manipulative DA to bearded DEA agents but this simplicity is what it thrives on, anything a little more nuanced would feel stretched and unhinge the fabric of the film. I’d certainly Recommend Snitch if you get the chance or like me fancy something easy on a mid-afternoon weekend and while it is available on Netflix you might as well give it a go if nothing else takes your fancy.
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