Snitch – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

snitchSnitch – 3.5/5 – The Rock; to some he is the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.  To others, he is known as actor Dwayne Johnson.  No matter what persona he is living, his stardom has no bounds.  From his roots in wrestling to movies, he has become a star of many things.  He has played in many movies since his first appearance in The Mummy Returns, but not every one of them has been all that superb.  Lately, a noticeable trend of better movies, we have come to see that The Rock can be a formidable force as an actor.  This movie is no exception.  In Snitch, we are giving a film where simple jesters can lead to bigger consequences.  Overall, through a linear premise and some fine acting, Snitch is a wonderful cinema treat, with a great central character in Dwayne Johnson.

Premise: In the wake of his son being wrongfully accused as a drug distributor, John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson) feels he is at fault.  Ashamed of being an absent father, and not being there for him, he decides to the do the unthinkable.  Working with the Attorney General and the DEA, he goes undercover; in return, he wants his son released from prison.  What ensues is a struggle between right and wrong, and the overall idea of how far would you go to save your child’s life?

At the center of the movies central themes and stories, we have John Matthews.  Played by Dwayne Johnson, we are given a character that is successful but also, shameful about some of his past.  Because of this past, it causes his son to get into some deep trouble.  Once this is set into effect, a chain reaction occurs that is somewhat commonly seen in most films dealing with ‘drugs’ and ‘conflict’, but through Dwayne we have a deeper complex that is very believable.  Through Dwayne, we see a man who is not only confused, but honestly contrite as a father and a man.  Through his confessions with his son and family, you know he is a real, raw and much focused individual.  When he makes the decision to go undercover, he doesn’t overdue the informant role with his own ‘persona’ he plays in other situations outside of the movies, but provides someone stern, calculated and motivated.  You also can tell that the actor within shine, and that he is believable as a lead character.  There are times when his emotional scenes come over as grandiose and very thematic, but you still feel for him and root for him on this quest.  His character wouldn’t have had a very great dynamic without the son, Jason Collins.  The son is played by new comer, Rafi Gavron.  We are introduced to him through the DEA bust, and also get a glimpse of him when he is in prision.  Through all these moments, you witness a boy broken down by his own ignorance and honor, which is complimented greatly by his father.  The scenes between ‘father and son’ are the best moments in the film.  You realize true purpose and worth in these scenes.  Everything feels raw, and that ‘father/son’ dynamic is more feathered than generic.  When it comes to the side characters, they basically are just standard characters revolving around John Matthews’ quest.  Outside of the family, which didn’t really didn’t have a big part, we have the DEA agent Cooper (Barry Pepper) the ex-convict Daniel (Jon Bernthal) the Attorney General (Susan Sarandon) and the drug dealers and cartel members, the prominent being the head of the cartel (Benjamin Bratt) and the local leader Malik (Michale Williams).  Through these side characters, we get aspects of how the decision Matthew’s makes in going ‘undercover’ affects each one of them.  They all have side stories, but instead of vying for screen time with the main plot, it is layered within the main story, defining it as real instead of irrelevant.  In stitching their stories to the main, we get a basic ‘purpose’ for each of them, helping provide more dimensions to their supporting roles, and gives reasons for them being people instead of plot points.

With the direction of the story, we have a very linear, predictable thread.  Through the premise, we are introduced to a basic conflict, based in drugs and drug dealing.  With this premise introduced, we have the obvious ‘perfect family’ scenario broken down by this conflict.  What it also does, even in being generic, is how that conflict defines and molds the dark secrets hidden as a blind behind Matthews ‘successful’ business.  The linear storytelling is given a deeper dynamic revolving around family, father/son, as well as consequences of that conflict.   Once the film moves to moving John Matthews from the ‘average man’ to ‘hero’, we have something that isn’t over dramatic, but authentic and genuine.  Through some convenient plot points with ‘having an ex-con’ working at the yard, and him having ‘connections’, the drama makes its mark and we are on for a ride.  Through the drama, we get a glimpse at what it takes to be ‘undercover’, and through some slick action scenes and some slow, thematic elements, we are focused on this through the linear thread of ‘family’ and the ‘father/son’ themes.  With the directions so focused on this one development, it helps make certain characters and story elements thrive, and others not.  The political aspects of the ‘drug war’ as well as the deeper complex of ‘drug cartels’ are touched upon, but not given enough screen time to explain.  They leave these threads unexplained, which causes some conflict with the cinema experience.  In the end, the predictability factor still stands tall, but because of the attachment to the main players in the story, you feel closure in the climax.  The movie ends half resolved and you still have questions with the aftermath of what went down with the ‘drug’ element and ‘Matthew’s life’.

The visuals are average to say the least.  There isn’t anything here you haven’t seen, and all the aspects of the visuals become more of a cliché as it reflects the situations.  When you’re dealing with the Matthew’s life, you have the common frame of a typical American in a common looking suburban area.  Once the movie shifts to the undercover/drug aspect, you have the camera focusing on the broken down neighborhoods, the stereotypical hoodlums/thugs, as well as a glossed look at the highlife of the ‘cartel’.  The score is very timid, and adds no value to the film.

Overall, Snitch is a good film with very relevant, emotional aspects to family.  With many general themes dealing with the ‘father/son’ dynamic, as well as drug influence and consequences, you get a film that is entertaining but predictable.  If you’re a fan of Dwayne Johnson, and good films, here is one to watch this weekend at the movie theater.

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