Snitch | Movie review
The Rock takes on drug dealers.
Dwayne Johnson tends to play characters who match his wrestler’s physique: tough guys better left uncrossed. So it’s refreshing to see him breaking from type, if only initially, in Snitch, which casts him as John, a concerned Missouri father who gets in over his head after making a deal with an ambitious prosecutor (Susan Sarandon). To reduce trafficking charges against his son, a first-time offender set up by a friend, John bumbles his way into the local drug trade, getting beaten up for his efforts until reaching out to Daniel (Jon Bernthal), his ex-con employee. Daniel reluctantly agrees to help because he senses the cash John offers is his only chance to save his own son from the snares of the drug world.
Even while pushing its protagonist to the War on Drugs’ front lines, Snitch fills its opening stretches with data about the unfairness of mandatory sentencing laws. It’s an awkward info dump, but director Ric Roman Waugh foregrounds the moral ambiguity as John focuses on rescuing his son without considering the collateral damage. The emphasis eventually switches to flames, twisted chrome and machine-gun blasts, but Waugh’s no-nonsense direction and strong supporting performances from Bernthal, Barry Pepper, Michael K. Williams and others help set the movie apart—as does an unsettling sense that the hero’s efforts might mean he’s not such a good guy after all.