2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rock solid departure from Dwayne Johnson,
This review is from: Snitch [DVD] (DVD)
Dwayne Johnson stars as John Matthews, a wealthy construction owner whose old & new lives collide. His son Jason (Gavron) from his previous marriage is brought up on drug charges after being setup by a friend, and refuses to snitch on anyone on principle. And once John realizes the severity of the problem, in the serious jail time his son could do, he is willing to cut a deal with ambitious DA Joanne Keeghan (Sarandon) , and sets about delving into the seedy & dangerous narcotics underground in order to bring in a big drug dealer, in return for a reduced sentence for his son. But at what cost ?!
Snitch is in a way new ground for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, he is shaking off his hard man persona & playing a regular guy who is more subdued than his usual confrontational characters that deal with problems head on outside of the law as his biceps do the talking. Based on true events, this is a much more realistic & mortal tale to a serious subject matter. Which is soon aparent in the first 30 minutes of this film, as instead of The Rock going out shooting the bad guys once the premise in unveiled, it delves into a emotional domino effect on every character involved. Through a series of tense meetings, the measure which John must go thorough, passing himself off as a desperate guy who needs money, in order to infiltrate the world of narcotics & win his son's freedom. There are a few action scenes in places, not all involving The Rock, but the big chase scene he is in, delivers a great performance from the big guy, where you can see the fear in his eyes, as he is helpless. I can't emphasize enough, that there is very little action compared to what his name attached to a movie normally ensures.
Dwayne Johnson never reveals his muscles at all throughout the film, and delivers a really heartfelt & emotional performance throughout. Which is much more sincere here, than those PG movies he sometimes makes. His chemistry with all the cast is spot on, and it's knock on effect really draws out some good performances form everyone. Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) an ex-con employee who is duped into opening the door for John into the underworld, whose own family becomes at risk, and adds another layer to the film with wanting better for his family than he had. Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise) is excellent as the ambitious & two faced DA who uses John to grease the wheels of her own campaign. Equally so Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) as the undercover narcotics cop who sympathizes with John, knowing how bad things can get, having his best interest at heart more so than the DA. Melina Kanakaredes (CSI New York) as Johns ex-wife & Nadine Velazquez (Flight) as his current wife are solid as the grieving mother's with they're own concerns. Rafi Gavron (The Cold Light of Day) had a good believable strained father/son relationship, as well as being easy to sympathize & root for his cause as his dad goes to bat for him.
In conclusion, this is Dwanyne Johnson trying something new, replacing all out action for a deeper, richer story & characters, with good acting all round to back it to the hilt. Even Barry Peppers ridiculous ZZ Top goatee cant derail this movie. Recommended.