Snitch ***

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“Snitch” is kind of an odd combination of a character drama and a “Fast And Furious” movie. One the one hand it is a well acted drama about the American legal system and the way it impacts innocent people. On the other hand it is a well made action film.

Dwayne Johnson stars as John Matthews, a hard working father who finds himself in a situation no father would ever want to find himself in. His son is arrested for possession with intent to distribute and is looking at ten years in prison. Truth be told his son is not a drug dealer but was the victim of a setup due to one of his friends looking to reduce his own charges. He is presented with an opportunity to reduce his charges if he flips on another friend of his which he refuses to do.

Using his connections, John arranges several meetings with the local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign to bolster her chances for election to Congress. Joanne agrees to reduce Jason’s sentence if John can inform on a drug dealer, but states that he’ll receive little help from her and that the risk will be all his. John eventually goes through his construction company’s employee applications looking for someone who has a criminal record because of narcotics distribution as a way in to the drug world.

After a few meetings he ends up running drugs for a local kingpin then running cash for a Mexican Cartel. His rise through the criminal underworld is amazingly fast and seems pretty unlikely. It does however benefit the US Attorney as well as a DEA agent played by Barry Pepper. They keep pushing him, using his son as leverage, until he is finally in the face of extreme danger.

John eventually finds himself in the middle of shootouts and car chases, which he handles pretty well for a family man. These scenes were almost unnecessary but are put together with skill.

Director and writer Ric Roman Waugh and Justin Haythe seem like veterans of these types of films. I almost wish they had dropped the action scenes and fleshed out the story a little better. Everything moves a long a little too briskly. I wanted to get more in depth with John’s battle with the legal system. This subject seems like a topic that truly needs to be explored, maybe in a documentary as opposed to a fiction film.

The performances here are very strong, especially by Dwayne Johnson. He has come a very long way since his WWE days. He is the best part about this film. I just wish that we didn’t have to see him firing a shot gun from his semi-truck. He needs to find a project that he can really sink his teeth in to.

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