Some true to life stories have a tendency to inspire some pretty interesting films. Pulled from true life events “Snitch” tells the tale of how far a father would go to help his son in trouble, even if that means taking on some of the world’s most powerful drug cartels.
“Snitch” is the story of a desperate father (Dwayne Johnson) whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a crime and is sentenced to 10 years in jail. In order to clear his son’s name, he dangerously goes undercover and risks everything, including his own life, to reduce his son’s sentence.
Coming from an extensive background of stunt work, for his fourth film the first to get a feature release writer/director Ric Roman Waugh seems to have found his groove with “Snitch”. Inspired by a true story, the narrative moves at a healthy pace and it gives an appropriate amount of time for the lead actors to deliver some solid character work. Shot in a way that gives the proceedings a very tight and claustrophobic feel, this is very much a drama with action elements rather than an action film with dramatic elements. Waugh doesn’t stretch it out or doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but he executes the story well and it all works as it should despite the occasional moments that strains credibility. It builds slowly and steadily to action filled climax where Waugh’s extensive stunt work background comes into to play with a very good climatic car chase scene. Waugh directs his cast to some solid performances, particularly from Johnson in what is arguably his first legitimate dramatic role.
He has proven in the past that he can do action and he can do comedy with ease, but here Johnson begins to find the emotional core of a character as his desperation as a father comes across on screen. You wouldn’t necessarily believe that this large hulking man on screen can come across as lost and needing help, but he does and it works well for the role. Jon Bernthal best recognized from “The Walking Dead” bring Johnson’s character into this seedy underworld and plays his own desperation quite well as the ex-con looking to do right by his family and move on. Susan Sarandon and Benjamin Bratt who play the local DA and the drug dealer respectively both feel like they are phoning it in just a little bit but Barry Pepper with one of the best displays of on screen facial hair in years as the DEA Agent Cooper and Michael Kenneth Williams as a low level drug dealer both ad some flavour to a film that could have gone into TV movie of the week territory fairly easily.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate as expected and the special features include a feature length audio commentary track from co-writer/director Ric Roman Waugh and editor Jonathan Chibnall, a behind the scenes ‘making of ‘ on “Snitch” and some deleted scenes.
At the end of the day, “Snitch” is an effective little drama with some flourishes of high quality action that is worth taking a look at.
3 out of 5 stars.
“Snitch” is now available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from all major providers. You can also find it for purchase from all major retailers like iTunes, HMV or amazon.ca.
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