Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Barry Pepper, Michael K. Williams, Rafi Gavron
Written by: Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh
Running Time: 112 mins
Release date: 21st June 2013
Trailers and advertising for films can be very deceiving. They can either give away everything there is to know about a film (Fast & Furious 6 shows all the major action scenes including the ending!) or they show nothing at all and leave it for you to see the film (The East does a good job at this). Then it can completely blind side you into believing it’s one thing when, in fact, it something completely different. Snitch has such an advertising ploy. The poster has wrestler and action star Dwayne Johnson standing all tough in front of a burning truck, while the trailer has plenty of stunts, shooting and car chases. Be aware: this is not the film that I saw. In fact, the action scenes on the trailer are the only action scenes in the whole film because this is a straight drama with a message than another generic Johnson starrer. Having said that, it’s not bad either.
John Matthews is a successful construction company owner. His son, Jason, from a previous marriage is in trouble. he is arrested for possessing a large amount of drugs and even though its his first crime, he could face 10 years in prison for possession and distribution. Refusing to become an informant so the DEA can go after smaller fish, Jason looks like he won’t escape imprisonment. Having none of this, John decides to put his life and his business on the line by going to District Attorney, Joanne Keeghan with a proposition: to become an informant, using his trucks to transport drugs for a cartel in exchange for the freedom of his son.
Considering that director Ric Roman Waugh is a former stunt man, he has served up a deep and thoughtful drama dealing with the lengths that a father will go to save his own blood as well as the ludicrous legal reaction to drugs in the United States.
According to the film, possessing and distributing drugs holds a longer sentence than rape and while Waugh tries to handle this, it does come across as a little clumsy, although he is more interested in exploring the darker side of society and how a man who has everything is willing to risk it all.
The drama does play out surprisingly well, without breaking into a barrage of violence and feels incredibly restrained, thanks to a quietly understated performance from Johnson. He has proven to be a reasonable actor, literally stealing Be Cool from the stellar cast but his other job, that of WWE Wrestler, The Rock, has given little opportunity to really act. Here, as the troubled father, john, he doesn’t do bad proving a softer, more mature side. It’s not Oscar winning, by a long way but given a really good script and a really strong director, I think his wrestling days will be forgotten.
He has solid support from Jon Bernthal as the ex-con who tries to help John get into the world of drug dealers; the massively underrated Barry Pepper as the DEA cop who doesn’t agree with John’s actions and the always reliable Susan Sarandon as the District Attorney who sees this as a vote winner.
This is one of those film’s that surprises you and I am sure there are those who will go see this and come out disappointed. It isn’t an action film and while its heart is in the right place, he isn’t fully successful in dealing with the heavier part of the story but it also wasn’t terrible. I followed it with interest and while it won’t ignite the box office, I think it’s much better than many will give it credit.