The 400-Word Review: Snitch
By Sean Collier
February 21, 2013
2013 is shaping up to be a busy year for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
In addition to prominent roles in two big-money sequels — Fast & Furious 6 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation — he’s trying to launch the sun-soaked action drama Pain and Gain with Mark Wahlberg and the younger-trending drama Empire State. The first of his five releases this year, Snitch, opens today.
Oh, and in his spare time, he’s the reigning WWE Champion, returning to the small-screen world that launched him farther into the limelight than it has any other grappler.
Given the relative wattage of those five films, it’s likely that Snitch will be seen the least out of The Rock’s current projects, and that’s a shame. Far from some of the dull headbangers the action star’s been known for in the past, Snitch is drama on a smaller scale, intimate and tense; most stunningly, it robs Johnson of his signature bravado and requires him to actually show a bit of range.
Directed and co-written by longtime stunt performer Ric Roman Waugh, Snitch casts Johnson as straight-and-narrow John Matthews, successful owner of a construction business and absentee father to misguided young Jason (Rafi Gavron). While John relaxes in a plush home with a new wife and toddler daughter, Jason is stuck in suburbia with his mom, John’s ex; a friend offers to bring the lad into the pill-slinging game, and Jason can’t say no. It’s a sting, however, and thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Jason’s going away for a decade if he doesn’t sell out a higher-up.
Since he doesn’t know any, Dad takes matters into his own hands and sets out to find the neighborhood kingpin. (Walking around at about 6’3’’ and a toned 270 lbs. will help one escalate quickly in the underworld, it seems.)
The quest to arrest a bad guy — any bad guy, really — is the driving device here, improbable though John’s rapid ascent might be. Fortunately, Snitch is packed with a fine roster of supporting performers more than capable of guiding The Rock on how to act without the use of his biceps; Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Michael Kenneth Williams and, somehow, Susan Sarandon all contribute fine work.
It’s a thin premise, and Johnson is lucky to have the help — while he’s charismatic and always likable, he still has his limitations. Still, Snitch outperforms expectations and entertains easily.