Snitch Review



It’s always fun to review movies that have a message in their story, and Snitch is one of the movies that I hate to watch but feel is my civic duty to call them out due to their message that is clearly written by someone that was on some or other narcotic, yet is against said substance.

Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon and Jon Bernthal
Running time: 111
Age restriction: 13 LV
Genre: action

Plot Synopsis

A father ends up working for the DEA after his son is framed and incarcerated for possessing drugs with the intention of distribution. The mission is to find a bigger target in the narcotics ring and catch him with his hand in the cookie jar so as to reduce his son’s sentence.

The Target

While it does have something to say, beneath all the melodrama is a bare bones action flick of the boring variety, make sure that you have a reason to see this or you’ll likely find yourself pining for a game of Angry Birds.

The Bottom Line

Snitch straddles the lines between scare-em-straight propaganda flick and activism against a twisted criminal system, but those two idealistic elements only serve to give the film a social context – with Dwayne Johnson in a starring role, Snitch really has one thing on it’s mind: blow shit up, no brains required…and there’s a lot of that, it just isn’t all that interesting.

Throughout the film, the idea of “only one time is enough to get you locked up” is frequently pummeled into the conscience of the viewer, and the director makes it their mission to remind the audience that you will be caught, so don’t do it. I have no doubt that prison is an awful place (unless you live in Norway), and John’s son is often seen suffering due to brutal physical attacks on his person – they don’t mention him getting raped but I suppose it goes without saying (although being obvious might have turned this into another Reefer Madness scenario).

So the filmmakers have clearly established the point of view that drugs are evil and are an instant ticket to a budget colonic irrigation, at the end of the film they decide to flip flop and talk about how the criminal justice system is wrong – by use of text of course – claiming that this so-called setting up of targets in order to reduce a sentence just perpetuates the war on drugs. If the filmmaker’s idea was to make non-violent drug users paranoid, then they have surely succeeded on that front.

It’s not that the two ideas seem to contradict each other, it’s just that the film itself is inane and tries to bear a message, so having more than one point of view tends to muddle the purpose of it all. Personally I feel that the film takes itself far too seriously for what it is and while it was interesting to see a darker side to justice, the film would have been easier to sit through if they didn’t attempt to force it as frequently as they do.

Admittedly, The Rock is somewhat more sensitive in the film, but the rest of the cast cliche to the point of pain, the villains are laughably comical in their stereotypes and that pulls the film very far from reality.

Snitch is a film that I love to hate, not because I disagree with it’s message, but because we live in an age where citizens of the planet are regulated on a near constant basis and I can’t with good conscience recommend anyone see a movie that is a proponent of that very philosophy. That it’s just boring, and boring action films are just as bad as unfunny comedies and unscary horrors.


  • Dan O’Neill

    It’s not the best movie you’ll ever see, but at least it does well with what it has. And that’s all that mattered to me. Good review.