“Snitch” is based upon true events put into play in part by Reagan-era drug laws. Director Ric Roman Waugh’s fourth film edges close to home for many audience members who have gone through similar situations, but doesn’t quite hit it out of the park.
This crime drama is based around the arrest and pending conviction of 18-year-old Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron “The Cold Light of Day”), who faces ten years in jail for assisting a friend in receiving a package full of pills. In an attempt to catch bigger fish, the U.S. district attorney offers Collins a bargain to reduce his 10-year minimum sentence: Turn in distributors in exchange for less jail-time. However, the boy is not in deep enough to “snitch” on connections and consequently is left to the mercy of the court system and the mandatory minimum.
Then daddy arrives on the scene.
Between a well-known cast — including pro wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (“The Scorpion King”), Hollywood elite Susan Sarandon (“Thelma & Louise”) and John Bernthal (“The Walking Dead,” and 2011 Scream Awards Breakout Performance nominee) — and a controversial storyline, one would expect a truly compelling entertainment experience.
And it was, until The Rock came on screen.
The plot was compelling and the supporting actors, especially Bernthal (as ex-con Daniel James), were quite good. The intrigue, though somewhat predictable and slightly slow, was still intense enough for viewers to buy into. But The Rock killed it — and not in a good way.
The Rock plays a successful businessman and overbearing father, who suddenly shape-shifts into an overly emotional dad and, consequently, an informant and martyr. There was no build in his character arc or pivot point for his motives. Thus, the attempts at conveying emotion were uncomfortable and unconvincing. The Rock could not handle this role. A child could have recognized his inability to convey emotion on-screen, but apparently the casting director could not. The lack of sincerity and decisiveness in his character destroyed him and consequently threw this movie under the proverbial bus. Perhaps children’s movies truly are his forte.
Still, due to the supporting actors’ superb performances and a deeper look into the controversial sentencing in drug-related charges, the film may still appeal to audiences. Therefore, if you are in the mood for a conversation-provoking entertainment experience about the judicial system — or just love The Rock — “Snitch” is still worth your time.
Release Date: Feb. 22, 2013
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, John Bernthal