“Snitch” starring DeWayne (“The Rock”) Johnson is a solid piece of movie entertainment.
Based on true events, the plot revolves around John Matthews, owner of a construction company. Early in the film he discovers his estranged son Jason from a previous marriage has been arrested on federal charges of distribution of illegal drugs, with his charges carrying a mandatory minimum of a 10 year prison sentence which can only be mitigated by leading to the conviction of another drug dealer. But because John’s son has nothing to offer in exchange he desperately decides to go under cover on behalf of his son to find a major drug dealer to offset his son’s sentence.
While DeWayne Johnson does an adequate job as the sympathetic father in the film exuding the right balance of confidence, courage, fear and ultimately love for his family, the real strength of this film is the ensemble cast lead by one of my personal favorites and not working enough actors Barry Pepper (aka the sniper in “Saving Private Ryan”) who plays “Agent Cooper” with his scraggly ZZ Top-ish facial hair.
Also providing solid performances were:
Susan Sarandon (aka Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking”) as the federal prosecutor;
Jon Bernthal (aka Shane Walsh on “The Walking Dead”) as parolee Daniel;
Michael Kenneth Wallace (aka Chalky White on HBO “Boardwalk Empire”) as drug dealer Malik; and
Benjamin Bratt (aka Det. Rey Curtis from “Law and Order”) as drug dealer kingpin Carlos Pintera.
While the conclusion to this story is pretty much figured out long before you take your seats in the theater, it still has the right balance of tension, plot appropriate violence and directorial - story telling pacing.
BUT, the real core element in this film’s plot is its not too subtle disdain for federal mandatory sentencing guidelines, AND ,it’s equal disdain for plea bargaining from frighten defendants who are inevitably ”Russian Routlette” compelled by fear to negotiate reduced sentences by continually nourishing the “snitching food chain” with more and more criminals - big or small.
Still, even with this obvious political component woven in and its overall TNT movie of the week feel to the story…………. I enjoyed “Snitch”.