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Snitch: The Rock cooks up a bad drug movie for the whole family By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin Metro Canada Reel Guys February 22, 2013

snitch2_900x675SYNOPSIS: Dwayne Johnson is John Matthews, owner of a successful construction company and estranged father to Jason (Rafi Gavron). Jason falls into a Kafka-esque legal loophole when his drug-dealing best friend implicates him as a trafficker in return for a break on jail time. Under America’s strict War on Drugs™ laws Jason is facing a mandatory ten-year sentence unless he gives up the name of a co-conspirator but because he’s innocent he has no one to snitch on. Enter John who gets the action underway when he says to the US Attorney (Susan Sarandon), “What if I do it for him? What if I help you make arrests?” Cue the cage match between The Rock and assorted drug dealers.

Star Ratings

Richard: 2 ½ Stars
Mark: 3 Stars

Richard: Mark, Snitch isn’t a bad movie, but it is a miscast one. As charismatic as The Rock… er… Johnson is, his physicality gets in the way. The character is a determined regular Joe willing to go to any lengths to help his son. But how much more effective would it have been if he didn’t resemble a cop who could crash the drug dealers he’s working with between his muscular thumb and forefinger?

Mark: I wouldn’t say it was miscast, but that it was too obviously cast. Your idea of casting against type, as an everyman rather than an action hero, is a tantalizing one. I’m imagining how much more interesting a movie it would be with, say, Ryan Gosling, or even Paul Giamatti. The real question, however, is: When Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper are support characters in a Dwayne Johnson movie, is this one of the signs of the apocalypse?

RC: Ha! I thought Pepper was OK but you could almost see Sarandon reaching for the pay cheque. She has seven movies coning out this year, and seems to have wedged this one in as she ran from set to set. Perhaps the movie’s message that the War on Drugs™ needs to find a new plan of attack appealed to her but she’s playing this one as a character straight out of Central Casting. What did you think of Jon Bernthal as the ex-con who gives The Rock a hand. Loved him on The Walking Dead and thought he was one of the best things about this movie, even if the conclusion to his story was far fetched.

MB: Well, he was the only one in the movie who brought an element of surprise to his scenes. As far as the story goes, I liked the premise, but I thought the storytelling was kind of sloppy and sometimes it felt like scenes were missing. The violence was restrained for this kind of movie, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. And the villains barely registered. They were mostly nasty in theory.
RC: I found the lack of violence refreshing. Given the name, the star and the idea you might have expected this to be a shoot ‘em up, and it isn’t. It’s a father and son story with a twist.

MB: Finally! A drug movie for the whole family!

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