Snitch (2013) Poster

(I) (2013)

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Much much better than I expected
edwin103022 February 2013
I have never been much of a fan of The Rock. My love of professional wrestling tapered off around the time I was about 15 years old, and that was before The Rock's heydey. His movies (the ones I have seen) have been marginal at best in my opinion. But for a guy who was ushered into the field of acting to capitalize on his popularity and not to win Academy Awards, he has come a long way from The Scorpion King. What I liked about "Snitch" is it's the anti-action movie. I expected a movie like the terrible "Last Stand" starring Ah-nold Schwarzenegger. I expected fabricated car chases and shootouts where the bad guys must be shooting blanks because they are unable to shoot the good guy even when they have a clear shot. I expected scenes where The Rock would beat up 10 guys who all take turns coming at him instead of simply jumping him. But "Snitch" was different. It's a story of the lengths a father will go to help his son. I don't want to give away any spoilers but he goes very far. The Rock -- he's credited as Dwayne Johnson (I guess so viewers take the movie seriously) -- is very believable and does himself proud with some consistent good acting. He shows the trepidation and vulnerability of a father who puts his life on the line to save his son, who is imprisoned after committing a dumb crime. But the actor who steals the movie is John Bernthal, who plays an ex-con trying to live an honest life but is dragged back to the dark side in order to help The Rock, whom he works for doing construction. Michael Kenneth Williams will forever be known as "Omar" and is typecast but does a good turn as a drug dealer. The other supporting cast, including Susan Sarandon as a district attorney, are excellent. "Snitch" moves at a deliberate pace, which gives it more of a natural and believable feel. The few action sequences are good and do not seem overly exaggerated. I will go out on a limb and say this movie will not be nominated for Best Picture, but compared with the junk I've seen so far this year (including the latest Die Hard), I recommend "Snitch".
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jfrink198424 February 2013
I'm going to be somewhat vague about the plot to not give away anything.

My wife and I decided we wanted to go see a movie, both of us enjoy action movies and both of us enjoy Dwayne Johnson as an actor. Neither of use really thought it was going to be anything but a bunch of explosions, gun fights, and ass-whippings. I was amazingly surprised at how far Johnson has come in his acting ability since Mummy 2/Walking Tall. He showed real and believable emotions in his interactions with his "family" and others. Jon Bernthal was the perfect choice for his role. He showed even with this supporting role he is ready to be a major lead in my opinion. Susan Sarandon played her job as a career politician to the absolute limit.

If you are looking for a generic action movie, go see Die-Hard. If you want to see the story of how far parents will go for their children see this movie.
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More like a TV movie, but really decent
siderite22 May 2013
I expected this to be a more physical type of movie, more suited to The Rock, but it actually wasn't that at all. He plays the role of a dad caught between two rival gangs: the DEA and a drug cartel. The stakes: get his son out from prison where he pretty much was tricked into entering.

The part that I felt most vividly about was this dirty aspect of the law called Minimum Mandatory Sentencing. A kid receives a package from a friend, filled with MDMA pills and then is caught by the police. The law required that he either rat somebody out or serve a minimum of 10 years in jail. That pretty much is the end of life for an 18 year old kid. I wonder, what if Dwayne Johnson's character would have been a tough muscle guy with a lot of guns? Wouldn't he feel it "mandatory" to kill at least two prosecutors?

The bottom line is that the movie had, beside the obvious thriller action bit, a deeper message about rigid laws that force, nothing more than the threats to your family that a gangster would use. I quite liked the film. The quality of it, though, was more like that of a TV movie. It must have been low budget, or at least it looked like that. Besides some of the names in the cast and the message I was talking about above, it was quite ordinary.
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Informing your way out of a jackpot
bkoganbing25 February 2013
Snitch is a searing indictment against the current drug laws and the fact that the draconian principles behind them. As we see in this film it forces those ensnared to become police informants on friends to get themselves out of a jackpot. Young Rafi Gavron gets himself in such a jackpot as a friend who does deal drugs sets Gavron up beautifully with enough Ecstasy to guarantee at least 10 years in Federal Penitentiary.

Young Gavron can work his way out of his jackpot, but the problem is that other than the kid who set him up, he doesn't know anyone in the illegal drug trade.

Dwayne Johnson is the kid's father and a working man who owns a construction company. He's divorced from Melina Kanakaredes, Gavron's mother and now he's got a second wife and child. Still he sees US Attorney Susan Sarandon and she's small comfort. She's running for elective office and is looking to get some big drug fish as notches on the prosecutorial gun.

So Johnson volunteers to bring in the big fish himself. Now he offers the use of his trucks to be drug couriers. But Sarandon and DEA agent Barry Pepper keep him in the game hoping for a bigger fish. Soon enough its one of the biggest fishes out there, a veritable whale in Mexican cartel leader Benjamin Bratt.

For action fans Snitch will definitely satisfy you. But also Dwayne Johnson creates a real character not a superhero. He's just an average man who is really putting himself in harm's way for his son.

The film reminds me a lot of both versions of 3:10 To Yuma where Van Heflin and Christian Bale are just citizens pressed into some disagreeable action like Johnson for the forces of law and order. There are also elements of the Robert Mitchum classic The Friends Of Eddie Coyle where Mitchum gets caught in the switches between the law and his criminal pals and is forced into the role of informer. The difference is that Mitchum is a petty crook and Johnson's a stand-up guy.

Susan Sarandon will chill you no end as the ambitious US Attorney who knows these laws are foul, but will use them for her own purposes. Also Barry Pepper as the law enforcement professional has some qualms and conscience. But even he's looking for the big bust and is willing to put Johnson on the line for it.

Snitch deals with the federal drug laws, but here in New York we pioneered that with the draconian Rockefeller drug laws. The sooner they're repealed the better, but we have to get through to some politicians who parade their law and order credentials by sponsoring such things.

This is a film both entertaining and informative and a real triumph for Dwayne Johnson.
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I saw a different film from the critics
DarkVulcan2926 February 2013
Dwayne Johnson better known has The Rock, was thought of to be like another Arnold Schwarzenegger, a muscle bound action hero who acts tough and shouts out funny one liners. But then he did the movie Gridiron Gang(2006),and my opinion of him changed, he took a little departure from action films, and took a stab at drama, and he gave a pretty descent performance, and he showed that he can act.

John(Dwayne Johnson) has his own construction business, is also happily married with a daughter. But Johns happy life is quickly turned upside, when his teenage son from another marriage is arrested for drug possession, cause a friend set him up. John not wanting to sit back and do nothing, is determined to get him out of prison. He volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel in hopes that it will get his son out of prison, with the help of U.S. Attorney(Susan Sarandon) and a D.E.A. agent(Barry Pepper), but will John pull it off?

I disagree with the critics, I thought the crime drama was very real. And when it was getting intense, you the audience feel it also. Dwayne Johnson gives a great performance, like he did in Gridiron Gang. You won't think of him as The Rock, but Dwayne Johnson the actor. Barry Pepper is good, so is Susan Sarandon.
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Not what you might think
naregian9 March 2013
I went into this film alone, on a lazy Saturday to get my mind off things. I wasn't expecting much, but I didn't want it to be a waste of 11 bucks. Knowing the market of action/thriller blockbusters, I guess I was expecting cars blowing up, gun fights all through the movie, and some crazy, somewhat unrealistic hand to hand combat by our huge friend Dwayne Johnson. I was expecting you're average, predictable "normal citizen suddenly becomes Jason Bourne" type action packed movie. If you're expecting that, and ONLY that, you will be somewhat disappointed. Lucky for me, I am a huge film buff and am open to sitting through any movie of any type and I just look for something entertaining, and this movie did not disappoint in that regard. The first hour and a half of it can legitimately be classified as more of a suspense-drama than a thriller. The screenplay wasn't anything amazing, but I do think Dwayne Johnson might have thrown himself in the eye of some producers and directors who write him off as no talent. His acting made the movie as believable as it was, and along with some of the supporting characters, and gritty suspenseful situations, this film found a way to intrigue me more than I thought it would have. The quote at the end of the film spoke volumes as to what the message of the movie was, and I think it was very well put together. If you're going to see this movie solely for action/entertainment value, then you might not be so happy with your investment, but if you want a well rounded, legitimate movie to go when you're bored or with a friend, I would recommend Snitch.
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"Snitch" Snitches on Messy US Drug Laws.
Matthias Elsdoerfer22 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Hey guys, I'm giving this 7 out of 10. I liked it! Good setup and good follow-through.

When a friend offers to send him a package of ecstasy pills, teenager Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) is more than a little reluctant, but still curious. He accepts, and bam, he's arrested for drug distribution and sentenced to 10 years. Kid's doomed unless he sells out somebody else, which he can't. He knows nobody in the drug scene. End of the line? Not if his dad John Matthews can help it. Good old man of action Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson slips into the market to sell the baddies out himself, and a tight action thriller ensues. "Snitch" delivers a solid plot, tension, drama and effective action in the right places. At the same time, it raises interesting observations about US drug laws.

"Inspired by true events," one of the first lines on the screen said. Oh well, I thought. Another one of those. Sells better, huh? Then, I learned about those true events going on in the US legal system. Wait a minute, a boy is caught with a box of ecstasy pills – no evidence he wanted to sell them, no criminal record – and he gets a mandatory minimum of 10 years in jail?! Um... This is a country where pedophiles and rapists can go free.

It reminded me of an interview with US economist Jeffrey Miron that, just a coincidence, I'd read the same day in German newspaper "Der Spiegel". Legalize drugs already, he says. Portugal did it, and they're fine! People here take them anyway! The nation could save tons of money, crime rates would go down, less people would die. Interesting, I thought as I watched the movie. Instead, there's expensive drug laws possibly doing more harm than good.

I was impressed with the detail put into the main characters. Matthews has two families: his ex-wife and son, and his current wife and little daughter. We see the effects of his actions - past, as a bad father, and present, as a drug informant – on both sides. We are also introduced to a ex-convict colleague he teams up with, that guy's family and the effects on them when things get tough. A rich plot and lot of tension derive from these back stories.

To boot, Susan Sarandon deserves special mention as the US District Attorney on the kid's case. Introduced as a cold, cynical bitch, she alternates between law enforcement, her agenda as a candidate for Congress, and eventually doing the right thing. But is it for the right reasons? She's an interesting character I could never completely dislike. Very nice performance.

All that said, "Snitch" isn't a deep masterpiece of modern cinema. Although slow-paced, it's designed as an action movie, with flashy stunts, a big ol' shootout and fist fights. The writing is effect- conscious, and so is the shaky-cam direction.

Looking around the Internet, I see "Snitch" receiving mixed reviews. Personally, I think this movie is well above average. Seeing it in the wake of the random and bad "A Good Day to Die Hard", I'll admit I was on the lookout for "this is how it's done, bitches" moments. Here are some: "The Rock" delivers a good performance in a rare serious role, a solid cast supports him, there's thought in the plot, characters are well- drawn with fleshed-out back stories, and they develop. Tangible stakes amount to "Breaking Bad"-level suspense, and you get well-placed, effective action scenes. Overall, "Snitch" makes for an evening well spent.
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An interesting departure for "The Rock."
PWNYCNY24 February 2013
This movie marks the departure of Dwayne Johnson from action actor to dramatic actor and the transformation works. Johnson demonstrates a surprising aptitude for dramatic acting as his character struggles with a number of distressing issues. The problem with the movie is the story. It's premise is implausible. The main character's son is busted on drug charges and he is in fact guilty, which makes him a far less sympathetic character. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop his father, played by Johnson, from coming to his son's assistance, albeit as unbelievable as it, and the entire movie hinges on the audience having to believe that the son is a victim, which he is not. If a movie needs a victim, then the victim should in fact be a victim. Another interesting character is the drug dealer played by Benjamin Bratt who plays the role effectively. Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper also provide excellent performances as an ambitious DA and an undercover vice police officer respectively. Despite the flaws in the story, this is still a good movie and one that is worth watching.
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One of the best captivating, action packed movies!
aawsome1622 February 2013
Dwayne "the rock" Johnson hands down did an amazing job portraying the father who would go to any length to save his son! I wasn't expecting this movie to be this good but it had me. I wanted to immediately know what was going to happen next. Although this movie doesn't seem so realistic it is very intense and you want to know how each scene is going to turn out. If you are looking for a good action packed drama then this movie is definitely for you. I would recommend to go see this movies while it's out in theaters. It is by far a great entertaining movie and the characters believability in the movie is great! Although if you are a critic on films which aren't realistically possible then maybe this isn't for you. But overall I would give the rocks performance in this film an A.
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A Rock Solid Performance
Catt Jones23 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I would normally expect to see Dwayne Johnson in either a silly comedy (Tooth Fairy) or an action packed drama (the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation). This film was neither. There was not a lot of action in this film; it was more of a psychological thriller. I did not think that I would really like this film and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The trailer told the main gist of the film where John Matthew's (Dwayne Johnson) son is wrongly imprisoned and John will do anything to get him released. He strikes a deal with Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) who is the federal prosecutor, to help catch bad guys. In order to even get starting in figuring out how he is going to help Jason (Rafi Gavron), John has to get introduced to the dark side (so to speak). He discovers that one of his new employees, Daniel James (Jon Bernthal) may have some insight and so the partnership begins. The roller-coaster ride that these two take definitely keeps the story interesting. With the introduction of the cartel and its regional leader Juan Carlos "El Topa" Pintera (Benjamin Bratt), things really start to heat up. I can tell you this much, by the time you get to the middle of the film you will be thinking, how the heck is he going to get himself out of this mess. This film is supposedly based on a true story; if that is true than our legal system has gone hay-wire and some laws should really be amended. I think that the film succeeded in delivering the message that it intended to deliver. I just want to add that it was hard to see the "Rock" as a guy who really didn't know how to fight, but he is still pretty easy on the eyes. This film was pretty fast-paced and there were not a lot of lull moments (although there were a couple), which gives the film added appeal. I am glad to see Dwayne stretching his wings. Is he ready to do Hamlet? No, but he was not terrible in this film. I think that former stunt coordinator turned director; Ric Roman Waugh did a halfway decent job for his major film. Kudos! Although I am teetering between amber and green for this film, I am going to go ahead and give this film a green light.
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Get Rock Bottomed By Hard Hitting Snitch
A K26 February 2013
I've been a fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson since his wrestling days in the late 90's. Now his movies are a mixed bag for me. I like his action movies (Faster, Fast 5) but I'm not a big fan of his family films (Tooth Fairy).

After seeing the trailer I expected this film to be an action film where The Rock kicks ass most of the movie. However, this film was more of a crime drama with more depth and less action than I thought it would.The story itself is inspired by a frontline documentary of the same name which deals with mandatory minimum drug laws in the US. It shows as the movie has a high stakes, gritty plot with a good message at the end.The movie also has strong performances from the great cast of actors involved. The rock has come a long way when it comes to acting and this is one of his best films. overall, 2013 is gonna be a big year for the rock. If this movie is an indicator of things to come, It will be a good year for him indeed.


Recommendation: Felon (2008) is a similar gritty crime drama from the same writer/director. If you liked snitch. check it out
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So-so events-driven drama which is watchable but unremarkable
bob the moo26 November 2013
Another plane journey another film that never appealed to me before but seemed good enough to fill some hours with not much else to do. Based on a true story this film sees a working man getting drawn into a drug sting operation in return for reduced time for his son, who was also innocently drawn into a drug dealing charge. In terms of narrative what we get is fairly events-driven and obvious; characters get put in danger, drug dealers are only marginally less trustworthy than the authorities, families are under stress and so on.

As a story it does the job but doesn't deliver anything other than what you expect – even without knowing the story you probably already know the story since it does more or less what you think it will. In terms of what happens there are not too many opportunities for set-pieces but the film should be able to really hatchet up the tension given what is at stake. Unfortunately it doesn't ever really do this – moments of intense danger seem staged and although there are manly confrontations there isn't too much sustained pressure that translated across to the viewer. This failing leaves the film feeling a bit pedestrian even if it does enough to engage to a certain degree.

The cast help it, in particular the presence of Johnson. He is not a great actor but he is more than enough of a presence to make a difference; I've always found he has an easy charisma and this is another example of that working in the favor of the project. Supporting cast is less reliable even if there are some big names and faces in there such as Sarandon, Bernthal, Pepper, Williams, Velazquez and others. Bratt stars as the main threat but beyond looking a bit sinister he really does do anything of note.

Snitch is a decent enough story told in a workmanlike fashion. It benefits from some good performances but it is still only a so-so watch and nothing more than that.
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Johnson shows off his acting muscles this time in dark gloomy urban crime tale with a stinging rebuke to loaded drug laws and vote hungry politicians
Sergio Campanale22 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the macho trailer and the equally macho poster showing "The Rock" posing with a speeding semi-rig, "Snitch" actually belongs in the sub-genre of "dark urban crime stories" and has very little action, at least of the violent kind. Tension is the name of the game here.

The trailer says it all really. Dwayne plays John Matthews, rig driver and now owner of his own trucking firm, divorced from his first wife Sylvie (Melina Kanakaredes) with a teenage son Jason (Rafi Gavron) who wants nothing to do with him, and a new wife (Nadine Velazquez) and little girl. When Jason is caught in a drug sting, he faces 10 yrs in prison under the Minimum mandatory sentence unless he rats someone else out, but since he knows no one, he can't play the game. Faced with an ambitious electioneering for congress DA (Susan Sarandon channelling Robert Vaughn in "Bullit" but with a skirt) more interested in vote winning that winning the war on drugs, John elects to go undercover himself and get some arrests so Jason can go free. He coerces one of his employees, Daniel (Jon Bernthal) a former East Side gang banger trying to go straight into giving him an introduction to former associate Malik (Michael K.Williams) for whom he will run drugs in his trucks and so set up a sting that will win his son freedom. During the run into Mexico, he impresses local Cartel Generalissimo "El Topo" (Benjamin Bratt) who decides to use him to run the cartel's cash back into Mexico. Finding himself under pressure from both sides, and with Daniel discovering the truth, it is going to take some hard decisions and a spot of gunfire and tough trucking to win out.

Dwayne Johnson produced this film and obviously saw the script as a way of showing off his acting muscle as well as his physical ones. He has come a long way from his initial stunt castings a decade ago, and has matured well as a commanding screen presence. Though still "The Rock" to most people, Johnson clearly wants, like Tom Buchanan of "The Great Gatsby", to throw off his irritating "jock" label and be taken seriously as thinking man. Surprisingly, he actually pulls it off very well here and indeed shows great promise for the future. Also, he does not have an injury giving him a slur like Stallone, nor a permanent and unbudging Austrian accent like Schwarzanegger, and he has more range than F&F co- star Vin Dieasel, so he could very well succeed in the credible blue collar "muscular everyman" role they have all sought, perhaps even achieving a Clint Eastwood style balancing act.

In supporting roles everyone plays their part in the ensemble drama, not least Bernthal as the man effectively tricked into jeopardising his rehabilitation as honest family man and faced with an unenviable dilemma. Sarandon overacts in what is a caricature of the untrustworthy vote hungry scheming politician, playing off the audiences natural suspicions and cynicism. Barry Pepper fares better as the "honest cop" who helps him out (the States "good guy") and Benjamin Bratt, barely recognisable in his few scenes, manages to convey both intelligence and menace as the Cartel General who can quiet his trigger happy troops with a mere soothing whisper. Gavron, as Jason, the one who is the cause for everything, elicits little sympathy alas, coming across as spoilt whining brat (which he is) but it is his future Matthews is fighting for rather than the jerk he often admits he is at the moment.Williams is also fine as Malik, a two strike career criminal who generates a protective air of fear yet deep down is a basically good guy who played the best he could with the bad hands life dealt him, wishing it could be different yet aware it now never will be.

Several themes run through the movie. The Mandatory Minimum Sentencing policy comes in for a rather unflattering presentation, down to a rather bitter final card which states first time drug offenders face sentences many times stiffer than rape, arson, child molestation and kidnap. As in the everyman noirs of old, a message of social reform is being shouted out. The cynicism of vote hungry politicians who do things which are evidently unjust and unjustifiable in the name of seeming "tough on crime" is also shown up, as is the tension between the experienced pragmatism of the professional vs the opinion poll consideration of the politician. The importance, even burden of Fatherhood is also a running factor, not only for Matthews but also Daniel, who does 90% of what he does to guarantee his young son a better life than the one he had, and even El Topo, who is also shown as a family man,ultimately putting his own young son before himself.

Those going in expecting a testosterone fuelled action-fest will be very disappointed, but fans of Johnson should experience it if only to see that he is as capable an actor as he is an action star.
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Johnson's Acting Steals the Show
Michael_Elliott2 March 2013
Snitch (2013)

*** (out of 4)

Surprisenly effective drama about a father (Dwayne Johnson) who agrees to go undercover after his son is arrested in a drug bust, which could cost him at least ten years in prison. The father goes undercover to bring down a Mexican drug lord and soon finds himself in over his head. SNITCH was based around actual events, although I'm guessing a lot of stuff was either left out or just blended together to get this story. With that said, those expecting a non-stop action picture like the trailers made this out to be might be disappointed because for the most part this is a straight drama. The action doesn't come into play until the very end of the picture but this certainly isn't a negative thing. The best thing going for the film is actually the performance of Johnson who turns in the best work of his career. What really shocked me was how believable he was in the role of a blue collar father who will stop at nothing to protect the son who really doesn't care for him. I really thought Johnson stole the picture with his acting because the screenplay really gives him quite a bit to play. Not only does his not play your typical action hero, he manages to make you believe that he's this scared guy who finds himself in over his head but at the same time he knows he must do what he has to to protect his son. The supporting cast is also extremely good with Susan Sarandon turning in a nice performance as a woman making the deals with the father. Jon Bernthal offers up a sensitive and believable performance as a father who gets dragged into the mess and the underrated Barry Pepper is extremely good in his role as an agent. Michael Kenneth Williams also delivers a good performance as a drug dealer. The film is pretty laid back for the most part and I thought this was an interesting approach by director Ric Roman Waugh who proves he can handle telling a story and casually building up the suspense. There are certainly some flaws with the story including it being way too easy for this father to get close to a major cartel but this isn't bad enough to where it kills the film. SNITCH is a pretty good drama that manages to grab your attention and really bring you close to this father character. A lot of credit goes to Johnson.
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Loosely based on some real events, a dad chases drug lords to free his son.
TxMike25 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
We found this one on DVD at our public library. One thing going for it, there's never a dull moment, and the car and truck chase near the end has some of the most spectacular action and crashes I have seen in any movie. With camera placements it often looked like the audience was right there.

The other thing it has going for it is Dwayne Johnson, who also produced. I have enjoyed The Rock in all his roles, and this one is no exception. Here he is John Matthews , former long-haul driver who now owns his trucking company. He is divorced and has a new family. But he also has a teenage son living with his ex-wife, and it seems there isn't much interaction.

One day John gets a call, his son has been busted with enough drugs to get him put away for 10 years minimum. As we see what happened, the boy was apparently set up by one of his friends, who told him all he had to do was receive and hold a package. But when the locater went off, the cops came in.

This movie is loosely based on some real accounts of similar cases. But this is a fictional story and as such some situations may not be plausible, but it illustrates both the danger of kids experimenting in the trade, and the dangers of dealing with the cartels.

John bargains with the D.A., if he will get a big capture then they will reduce his son's incarceration. With no background that would make him suitable for such a task, he forges ahead knowing it is what his son needs.
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A very good movie
Warning: Spoilers
I rate it 9/10 because is that good. The plot is very realistic and the characters well defined and played by the actors. I usually don't dig realistic movies, i'm more into SF, but for me this was so good all together that is't up there in my top 20. "The Rock" is in his element even if this is not his usual type of movie. First I thought: him in a drama? Hmm.. is going to be a weak one, but this drama suits him very well and of course in the end he gets a little bit of action too. Overall this turned out to be something more that a usual point and shoot. Turned out to be a movie with more matter, more substance. I think this is a must see movie, by all means
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Surprisingly entertaining.
Bruce72215 June 2013
Dwyane Johnson proves once again that he's become a surprisingly versatile actor and capable of being the leading guy in Snitch, a very good movie that was suspenseful, intense, and emotionally driven. Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon, and formerly of the Walking Dead John Bernthal provide a great supporting cast but The Rock leads the way in a movie about how far a father is willing to go to protect his son. I wasn't a huge fan of some of the camera work and other cinematic effects but there's nothing overdone about this film and that's actually a good thing. The story develops well and is enough to keep you engaged without the need of excessive explosions or anything else. This isn't actually an action movie and just about any other quality actor could've played the role of John Matthews but as I said, the fact that Dwyane Johnson did it well shows how far he's come. Between his role in Fast & Furious 6, his recent comeback on WWE, his new shot on TNT "The Hero", and this leading role, Dwyane Johnson seems to be everywhere right now but he's performed his roles well so that's not a bad thing.
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Despite Some Lapses In To Manipulation It's A Thriller With Humanity. It Misses Out An Important Point Though
Theo Robertson19 June 2013
John Matthews the owner of a trucking company finishes work one day and comes home to find his teenage son Jason has been arrested for supplying drugs and is facing between 10 and 50 years imprisonment . Jason can get a reduced sentence if he supplies names of other drug dealers but Jason has no knowledge of other dealers . John Matthews then decides to infiltrate local drug gangs so he can inform on them to the DEA and get his son out of prison

Considering it stars Dwayne " the Rock " Johnson you could be forgiven for thinking you're watching something that firmly belongs on the straight to DVD shelf but SNITCH is very much a action thriller with very human drama . Indeed very early in the film when John Matthews stops to help one of his workers , Daniel James load bags of cement you can't help thinking that you're going to be watching a very pious and whiter than white man portrayed as a poor unfortunate victim . The film perhaps mindful that the entire situation has been created by some teenager buying a massive bag of MDMA second guess that the audience might not be too sympathetic to his plight so becomes slightly guilty of tugging the heart strings by gnashing of teeth in angst ridden domestic scenes and manipulative music . It could have been even more over done but thankfully it doesn't go overboard , but you'll still notice a slightly manipulative agenda at play

That said Johnson is a revelation here and I was struck as to how effective he was in the role of John Matthews . Okay I doubt if he'll be picking up an Oscar nomination next year but he manages to create an empathy with the audience and where SNITCH works best is when it gets to the heart of the plot where Matthews infiltrates the street gangs and finds himself being elevated in to the higher echelons of a Mexican drug cartel and it's at this point you know things are going to work out very badly for him and his agenda is going to be found out as he finds himself stuck between a rock ( Sorry guys ) and a hard place

If there's a problem it's not so much with the film itself but with the reality of drug laws in America . If drugs were legalized and provided by the state this would have solved many of the problems illustrated here . Throughout the film you'll be shouting at the screen that it's the fault of unenforceable legislation that created many of the scenes seen here and amazingly the film ends with a caption pointing out that first time drug dealers often get a sentence longer than many rapists , robbers and child molesters . You don't however get the impression the film is making any really intelligent point about the criminalization of drugs and the caption seems mainly added as an afterthought . That said SNITCH is an impressive enough thriller that has more going for it than many other recent thrillers . This is down to its humanity
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As thoughtful as a Dwayne Johnson film can get ...
gregeichelberger22 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Dwayne (formerly known as "The Rock") Johnson's films can be neatly divided into the following two categories: brain-dead, violent action/adventures featuring car chases, shootouts, explosions and scantily-clad females; and the brain-dead, cutsie family action/adventures which usually play upon his character's penchant for brawn over intelligence.

The latest release from Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment tries to inject a new genre into the star's career, the thoughtful, poignant, issue-oriented action/adventure. This, of course, is a dangerous step for the lightweight actor and threatens to put off his legion of fans who expect nothing more than road rage, gunplay or a tough, muscular guy in a tutu.

As thoughtful as a Dwayne Johnson film can get, "Snitch" tries to straddle the fence and please everyone, with a limited amount of success. Short on action and suspense (until the conclusion), the film instead tries to replace those vacant elements with long, drawn-out discussions on mandatory federal drug laws, DEA undercover work, the necessity of ratting people out and - conversely - the evils of ratting people out.

Viewers will likely be as conflicted as this author was on how the picture goes to great pains to balance the need to be a snitch at the same time explaining the pitfalls of such a position.

Here, Johnson is John Matthews, a moderately successful construction contractor in Kansas City, Mo. with an ex-wife, grown son and a second family. Estranged from this father, Jason (Rafi Gavron, the ridiculously overrated "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"), stupidly agrees to hold a shipment of Ectasy from a friend.

Unfortunately, the amount is considered enough to distribute, so he is immediately arrested and now faces at least 10 years behind bars because of the federally-mandated sentencing requirements. He is then given an option by U.S. attorney and congressional candidate, Joanne Keeghan (Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon, "Dead Man Walking"), to narc on (or set up) his buddies who might be in a position to sell the drugs.

Dad and mom, Sylvie (Melina Kanakaredes, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," TV series "CSI: NT"), also endorse the plan, but Jason refuse to be a stool pigeon, so the offer is withdrawn. After seeing his son beat to a pulp in prison, though, he offers to be the rat in his boy's stead. Everyone laughs it off, especially when he himself is ambushed on his first effort to collar a street corner dealer.

Utilizng an ex-con employee, Daniel "Cruiser" Jones (Jon Bernthal, "The Ghost Writer") who knows the narcotics transport system as well as some of its local players, Matthews manages to trap a moderate dealer, Malik (Micahael K. Williams, TV series "Boardwalk Empire"), but the undercover agent on the scene, Cooper (Barry Pepper, "Saving Private Ryan") wants a bigger fish, cartel leader, Juan Carlos 'El Topo' Pintera (Benjamin Bratt, "Law & Order," "Private Practive TV series).

Now, Matthews must walk the tightrope between thugs, dealers and the government in order to secure his son's freedom and his family's safety. Can he do it?

Well, he certainly works hard in this role, as one can see him straining to be as serious as a character like his can be. One can almost witness the same strain Bill Murray and Adam Sandler felt when they tried to go "legit" in movies like "The Razor's Edge" and "Punchdrunk Love," respectively.

I'm a fair person and I'd like to give kudos for the effort to stretch, though. This may be a forgettable effort in many quarters, but at least it was an endeavor attempted. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And while this may not be Shakespeare or even bust open the box office this week, at least it's a small feather in a tiny cap on Mr. Johnson's rather limited resume.

Five/10 stars.
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Nearly a good treatment a real story could have had
Pali Madra29 June 2013
I saw this movie on Saturday when I had the option to watch other movies which were rated higher everywhere and might be good on another day.

It is tough to have "good movies" based on real stories. I mean they are few and far between. There are some better movies based on real life but this is up there as well. Dwayne is turning out to be serious actor who is getting better every year and this is a hell of a improvement.

I could relate to the character and fortunately there are very few things that are unreal. The film does force us to think about snitching.

If you are out to watch a serious film I highly recommend this one. However, if you are looking for action and a fun oriented film then leave this for another day.
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A tale of selfless love
Gordon-1123 June 2013
This film is about a construction company owner who is forced to make a choice when his son got involved in a drug deal.

I thought that the film would be an action packed thriller, as The Rock usually stars in these films. "Snitch" turns out to be an ordinary father who fights for his son's freedom, as there is a law that encourages drug dealers to frame other people to get their sentences reduced. I very much respect the fathers love for his son, that he would do anything to get the son's sentence reduced. He had to cross many lives, deal with international drug barons and risk his life, and that is a moving plot. Though there is not much adrenaline pumping action, this selfless love more than makes up for it. Who would have thought that a seemingly ultra masculine action film would have such a moving element?
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How far would you go to save your son?
gradyharp12 June 2013
A disturbingly realistic view of the drug problem in this country is the shocker element that makes SNITCH work so well - the extent of drug cartels on both sides of the borders, the power of the kingpins controlling them, and the current laws about felonious drug dealing - all combine to make this film not just another good guy bad guy film: this is a slice of life as we are living it.

Construction company owner John Matthews Dwayne Johnson) learns that his estranged son, Jason (an impressive Rafi Gavron), has been arrested for drug trafficking. Facing an unjust prison sentence for a first time offender courtesy of mandatory minimum sentence laws, Jason has nothing to offer for leniency in good conscience. Desperately, John convinces the DEA and the opportunistic DA Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) to let him go undercover to help make arrests big enough to free his son in return. With the unwitting help of an ex-con employee Daniel (John Bernthal in a superb performance), John enters the narcotics underworld where every move could be his last in an operation that will demand all his resources, wits and courage to survive.

Ric Roman Waugh wrote (with Justin Haythe) and directed this tightly woven tale and has managed to make a focal point of the problems of divorced families (Melina Kanakaredes is the ex-wife and Nadine Velazquez the current wife) in the care of their offspring. Dwayne Johnson finally has a role that defines his talent and he is supported with a terrific cast (in addition to the actors mentioned above) of Michael K. Williams as the head of the US side cartel, Benjamin Brat as the head of the Mexican cartel, Barry Pepper, JD Pardo, David Harbour, Lela Loren and Harold Perrineau. Yes, there is the requisite car chases and violence, but there is also a study of father/son relationship healing that is equally powerful. The film is much better than expected. Grady Harp, June 13
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Using The Hapless As Pawns
AudioFileZ28 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As Americans we believe our legal system, based on The Declaration of Independce, to blanket us with freedom and protection from anything which may conspire against it. Trouble is many laws passed since that hallowed document do anything but. Snitch tells a supposedly true story amplifying how limited that freedom may be if a certain confluence of unfortunate events fall into place.

A young adolescent, who really at best is an occasional recreational drug user, gets pressured by his "best" friend to simply receive a package containing illegal drugs. The boy is kind of "wishey-washey" in that he's not interested other than he stands to get some free pills himself. When the package arrives, against his better judgment, his adolescent desire to be "cool" supersedes as he signs for the package. Unbeknownst to him he has been set-up and he's immediately arrested. Charged with the federal laws requiring at least 10-years, calculated on the quantity of pills in the package. It doesn't matter that the kid has never been in any kind of trouble whatsoever as he now, in the Federal government's eyes a distributor, not a hapless occasional user.

The crux of this story is what as a father of such a mis-guided youth would you do. Postulate it...And, if you were already fairly guilt-ridden over leaving that kid in a post-divorce minefield how would that color the ends you might go in order to give the child a rescue? This, in a nutshell, is the harrowing story of that father's journey to save his son.

Sports figures (if you consider professional wrestling celebrities at least fringe athletes) rarely "grip" the viewer in a real drama due to the simple fact they're not first, and foremost, actors. Dwayne Johnson proves to be a refreshing exception here. In spite of his physicality (which hovers in plain sight, but is ignored as he is "just a dad") he proves he really can bring some emotion to his acting. "Snitch" is better than you'd expect as it is an interesting story done really straightforward which is to say quite well.
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Better than rating suggests
tr919 September 2013
'Snitch' was a good film about a father (The Rock) who goes undercover because he wants to free his son who was set up in a drug deal.

The film is straight to the point, the way the plot develops is a bit far fetched but who cares. There was some very good action scenes but for me The Rock was excellent and very believable in the drama side of things. You feel quite attached to the characters as you are watching because we learn quite a lot about the characters and we can see their problems.

I expected this to just be full of car chases, guns shooting and explosions (there was some of that) but it was much deeper than that, I really enjoyed all aspects of it. It is heartwarming to see The Rock take the ultimate risk to save his son.

Good film, enjoyed it. I preferred 'Faster' but this is definitely worth a watch as well, less action but good drama.

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An excellent critique on the injustices of the 'war on drugs'!
Hellmant24 May 2013
'SNITCH': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in and co-produced this crime drama about a construction business owner who goes undercover working for the DEA in order to free his wrongfully imprisoned son (who was set up by a friend in a drug deal). The film was directed and co-written (with Justin Haythe) by stunt man turned film director Ric Roman Waugh. It features a supporting cast including Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal (of 'THE WALKING DEAD' fame) and Benjamin Bratt. The film was advertised as your typical action vehicle starring 'The Rock' but it's actually a pretty hard hitting drama featuring an excellent performance by Johnson. It's also an excellent critique on the injustices of the 'war on drugs'.

The movie begins with 18-year-old Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) talking to his friend on the computer when he's asked to accept a package of illegal pills that his friend wants to ship to his house (because he says he can't fly with them). Jason refuses but his friend ships the pills to him anyway. Upon receiving the package Jason is busted by DEA agents for drug trafficking. He learns that his friend set him up in order to reduce his own prison sentence and now DEA agents want Jason to set up friends of his (or he could do 10 to 30 years in prison). Jason refuses to betray his friends like that, much to the disappointment of his father, construction company owner John Matthews (Johnson). Fearing that his son won't survive ten years or more in prison John goes to DA Joanne Keeghan (Sarandon), who's on a campaign run, for help. He offers to go undercover, using his company's delivery trucks as a front for drug transporting, in order to reduce his son's prison sentence. He asks an employee named Daniel James (Bernthal), an ex-con who's done time for drug crimes, to help introduce him to the drug underworld.

The movie definitely isn't action-packed, like your usual Dwayne Johnson flick, it does have a spectacular car chase (involving a semi) and one other action scene (involving the semi and a drug dealer shootout) but that's about it. It is a very involving, sometimes quite suspenseful, crime drama about the drug world and the DEA's unjust war which creates it. The film is the perfect illustration of everything that's wrong with making any drug illegal. It ruins lives and is, in all honesty, 'legalized slavery' (which unjustly targets minorities as well). The message of the film is a very important one and the drama and emotions of the characters are very legit. The film is adequately written and directed and gives Johnson the chance to show his real acting chops as a serious and 'legitimate' actor (and not just an action movie star). It reminds me of the better films that Sylvester Stallone used to make. A good and important movie.

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