Dwayne “The Rock Johnson is a movie star now. For much of the year, he’s been in movie after movie (so far four), and most of them have been hits, on top of having a TV show and his wrestling appearances. It took a while (films like The Rundown and Walking Tall didn’t do that well), but now he’s one of the biggest names in cinema. But something like Snitch shows that he’s an appealing presence on screen, but he can only lift material so far. A thoroughly mediocre film, Snitch will make for good cable viewing. My review of the Blu-ray of Snitch follows after the jump.
Johnson stars as John Matthews, who runs a construction company, and who’s remarried and relatively happy. His son Jason (Rafi Gavron), who lives with his mother and doesn’t see much of John, has a friend who wants to mail him some drugs. Jason reluctantly accepts, but is busted with it and sentenced to ten years in prison, even as a first time felon. John doesn’t like this, but it turns out the DA Joanne Keegan (Susan Sarandon) runs a policy where people can only get reduced sentences by snitching on other criminals, and that Jason was set up because of this policy. Since Jason doesn’t know any drug dealers, and because he’s soft, John decides to do some snitching for him.
But John knows nothing about drugs, so first he turns to the internet (and Wikipedia), and then to his co-workers who’ve done some jail time. He picks out Daniel James (Jon Bernthal), but Daniel wants nothing to do with the life as he has a wife and kid. But John offers him money, which leads both to the drug dealer Malik (Michael K. Williams), and when a test run goes okay, the police – headed by Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper, with the most amazing facial hair imaginable) –decide they’d rather have John get a bigger fish. In this case that’s Juan Carlos ‘El Topo’ Pintera (Benjamin Bratt). John decides to deal if his son can get out of jail immediately, but he’s also in over his head and doesn’t trust anyone.
Everything about this film is theoretically good, but the whole system of snitching seems like the filmmakers are trying to say something that gets lost along the way. Where Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, etc. (which this film seems to be aping) were talking about true crime and corruption it felt real, this stars Dwayne Johnson.
The action is okay, and the moral quandary of how far someone will go to protect their family (even if they have moved on) keeps things interesting, but as good and charismatic as Johnson is, there’s just not much here to get excited about. Perhaps the character needed to be a little more morally culpable to begin with, or the payoff for his work needed to be more exciting. It’s just missing something.
But Summit’s Blu-ray is not. The film is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio. Though this isn’t exactly demo disc material, the transfer is strong across the board, with sharp details, and a good surround mix. A digital copy and ultraviolet version is also included. As for extras, the disc delivers. The film comes with an audio commentary by co-writer/director Ric Roman Waugh and editor Jonathan Chibnall, that’s nice and breezy. Both seem to be invested in the film. There’s also a making of called “Privileged Information: The Making of Snitch” (50 min.), which covers the entirety of the production. There’s also four deleted scenes (6 min.) that were wisely snipped and the film’s theatrical trailer.