Dwayne Johnson worked very hard as an actor to separate himself from his wrestling persona. When he first started to act in movies he was credited as “The Rock”. Once he began to establish himself he worked his real name in by using Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson until he finally just became, Dwayne Johnson. Some may question, after working so hard to separate himself from that name, why he has returned to the world of wrestling. It IS his first passion and the WWE fans love him for it. Besides, it is not hurting his acting career at all. In fact, in the new movie, “Snitch” he flexes his acting muscles instead of the ones he uses in the ring.
“Snitch” opens by letting the audience know that it is based on true events. The story is about a father, John Matthews (Johnson) who goes undercover for the DEA to help them make drug busts to help reduced his son’s decade long prison sentence. His son, Jason (Rafi Gavron) is serving the sentence after having been set up in a drug sting.
The trailers, commercials and even the artwork (see above) makes “Snitch” out to be some sort of action movie, but it does not belong in that genre. It’s much more of a drama that features some gun play and a little action on the highway. The story shows how far a parent will go for their child, even if it puts their own lives in danger.
Director Ric Roman Waugh, who started his career as a stuntman, often tries to bring tension to the movie, but he rarely succeeds at doing so. The musical score he employs tries its best to help in the tension department, but all it does is slow the movie down and even make it downright boring at times. When there is action on the screen it is suitable for the story, but nothing too memorable.
Where Waugh does succeed is with his actors. There are some really good performances and Dwayne Johnson has taken a giant step if he some more dramatic roles. He shows some emotional range he has not featured before and even manages to create a few tears. Susan Sarandon plays the state attorney in the movie and you REALLY end up hating this woman. Barry Pepper is almost unrecognizable in his role and Rafi Gavron brings the right amount of vulnerability to his part. The only one who is underutilized in “Snitch” is Benjamin Bratt who plays the major drug Mexican kingpin in the movie. He is not given enough screen time to make you feel he is any real threat, but that’s more of a problem with the script.
When the movie ends a credit appears telling people that someone who gets arrested for drugs will get an automatic sentence longer than someone who commits an armed robbery or a rape. The very fact that Jason goes to jail at all in this movie feels very far-fetched, but maybe it’s true. According to the movie if a friend sends you a package that contains drugs in it and they tell law enforcement that you will sell the drugs, you can be arrested as soon as the drugs arrive at your door. Even if no one sees you try to sell the drugs. It would seem that any lawyer worth their while can get you off on a charge like that. “Your Honor, my client had no idea what was in that package and never attempted to sell the drugs to anyone.” Sounds pretty open and shut, but if it is not, then “Snitch” does add an interesting conversation piece after the lights come up in the movie theater. It is rated PG-13 for drug content and sequences of violence.