‘Snitch’ (2013); a boring-ass film with a righteous message.

24 Jun

Snitch posterWith about as much tact as you’d expect from a film starring The Rock, Snitch kicks things off with the battle cry of ‘mandatory sentencing laws are BAD!’ as Jason (Rafi Gavron) gets ten years in the slammer for selling narcotics. Knowing his son was set up, Jason’s truck company-owning father John (Dwayne Johnson) must go undercover and infiltrate the drug rings to sort things out. Aided by wily lawyer Joanne (Susan Sarandon), Special Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper) and reformed junkie Daniel (Jon Bernthal), The Rock gets rolling to clear his son’s name and secure his release.

The film has some interesting points to make about the archaic nature of mandatory sentencing laws, but it does so in the most amateurish way that the half-baked result undermines any and all attempts at a coherent message. Director Ric Roman Waugh desperately wants to inform us that ten years for drug distribution is too much, that the system is draconian and flawed. Of course, what with the real-life systematic imprisonment of drug dealers/users in the USA being as financially motivated as it is, Snitch tackles this relevant problem head-on.

But in doing so it misses its target by several hundred feet and crashes into a brick wall, leaving a disfigured and unintelligible mess in its wake. Tell me, if you were to cast a timid, inexperienced ‘nice guy’ who must turn to crime to save his son, who would you not choose for the role? Definitely not a retired wrestler! This may be one of Johnson’s more thoughtful performances, but he could still be out-acted by any common house plant. His name being brilliantly symbolic of both his charisma and personality, he is an actor for big dumb action movies, and nothing more. But here we’re supposed to be worried for him – he’s about eight feet tall and built like a cathedral!

An already-small gun is rendered tiny in the hands of the Mountain Man.

An already-small gun is rendered tiny in the hands of the Mountain Man.

Gavron, Pepper and Bernthal are all complete nothing-characters, thin as wallpaper and twice as boring. Sarandon stands out not only as the sole female of any consequence, but also as the only competent actor of the bunch. Her presence is welcome but undermined by the tangible feeling that she’s only showing up so she can cash a paycheck later – there’s a reason she usually lands better roles than this one.

The story is clichéd and breaks absolutely no new ground whatsoever. The Rock beats people up, the other leads occasionally come in useful (but not very often), the dialogue induces mass squirming in the cinema and nothing even remotely interesting happens. Concluding with statistics which show that first-time drug offenders serve longer sentences than rapists, Snitch is one of those ‘message movies’ that beat you over the head with its agenda in the least subtle way possible.

A ham-fisted attempt at tackling a major political issue, Snitch is plagued by story problems, bizarre and scatterbrained casting choices, and simply fails to excite on any level whatsoever. It’s long, boring, badly-made and not worth any of your time or money.

Simon says: I wish people would just accept that The Rock can’t act.

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