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Dwayne Johnson stars in this action thriller as a loving father who goes undercover for the DEA to try and spare his son a prison sentence. Horrified when his teenage son is caught up in a drug bust that may see him serve over ten years in prison, John Matthews (Johnson) is determined to find a way to help. When he learns that the only way to reduce his son's punishment is to procure information that will lead to the arrest of more serious drug offenders, Matthews enters league with a cold-hearted federal prosecutor (Susan Sarandon) and sets out to infiltrate the operations of a notorious local drug dealer (Michael K. Williams). However, when John's 'snitching' brings to light the crimes of a major player on the drugs scene (Benjamin Bratt), he may well find himself in a worse predicament than his son...
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For me, this one was going to be a potboiler as all I wanted was a simple movie to pass an hour or two and not make demands of me as I've been really tired today. But I didn't get that - instead I found I'd chosen one that had presence despite its lead being known better for his physique than his shakespearean delivery.
But The Rock did a decent job given the material he was allowed. Daniel in the movie was utterly convincing although the drug dealers were maybe a bit too - just exactly how they're usually portrayed, as undereducated AfroAmericans, many of them heavy and very large indeed. And the Mexican dealer El Supremo was just as he should have been too.
Barry Pepper always turns in a good midrange performance and he does so here too, as does the lovely Susan Sarandon who seems to have decided that small/cameo parts are enough for her these days. A pity, as to me she's always been a very bankable presence onscreen. On this occasion she's the hardfaced "dragon lady" State Prosecutor with the power to free the hero's son after he's busted for a narcotics offence.
As better plots do, this one developed nicely - if perhaps a shade predictably. That latter point's a hard one to evade these days when we see so many movies in an average year. It means that if one's to impress it does have to give more than its stablemates do. And this one did just that.
But that title "Snitch" wasn't its finest feature. Not only that, I don't think anyone in the plot was a "Snitch" by my understanding of its meaning. Which of course is frank and full as I meet up with career criminals on a daily basis.... :)
So this one gets a stamp of approval from me. It never got out of proportion, the performances were mostly pretty decent, and the direction - for me - was on the money.
If I'd been a cinemagoer having paid whatever crazy ticket price they charge these days, perhaps I'd enthuse a little less - which would be unfair of me. But human nature is just that, so I'll let that go.
Some might say the story is a little preachy, with values called into question and the US legal system also questioned - in particular re the business of set extremely-long sentences for narcotics offenders, namely dealers and distributors.
But both sides were explained and portrayed, which seemed fair to me. As I'm not a US citizen that's hardly relevant but I've learned something this evening about US federal law - which detail till now I'd never heard of.
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