‘Snitch’ is unfortunately one of those movies that sounds great on paper, but the execution is simply mediocre. Even with its "Inspired by true events" tag, a gripping war-on-drugs concept and an action star front and centre, ‘Snitch’ just doesn’t deliver the goods (so to speak).
What wouldn’t you do to save your child? When Jason (Rafi Gavron), the son of well-to-do businessman John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson), is unwittingly and innocently caught with drugs, the consequence is a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence. When Jason refuses to manufacture evidence against someone else, effectively reducing his sentence, John is forced to work with a reluctant U.S. Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) and Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper). They send John undercover to infiltrate a gang of drug dealers in exchange for reducing Jason’s sentence. In his efforts, John puts his and his family’s life at risk, as well as compromising an employee's life (Jon Bernthal) when he turns to him for an “in” to this sinister world.
It’s all there on paper - in the script and even in real-life. Yet on screen, ‘Snitch’ lacks guts and oomph. For a film about a war on drugs, it desperately deserves more grit and more meat. 'Snitch' needs to go darker, something it’s apparent the cast and filmmakers weren’t able to pull off.
Don’t be fooled by the film's leading man or marketing campaign. This is not an action film, but a drama - and that’s probably its biggest fault. Johnson is supposed to be an everyman who becomes a fish out of water at the peak of desperation. Pitting someone of Johnson’s size and reputation against little men with big guns and asking him to feel intimidated is laughable. Johnson has real talent, but given the situation, to say he was miscast is an understatement. Spending 112 minutes watching Johnson struggle to be taken seriously is almost painful to watch.
While ‘Snitch’ has some worthwhile moments, they’re few and far between, and not enough to carry the film. It all hinges on Johnson’s performance, which is almost - but not quite - enough.