BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Friday, February 22, 2013
The action thriller “Snitch” is more thriller than action. And that’s the way I like it.
That’s not to say that there is no gun-shooting and car-chasing in this movie, because there is. There are police guns and gang guns and drug cartel guns. And the action-packed finale is a reminder of why you should think twice before messing with someone driving a semi.
But every bullet and every exploding car has a purpose in “Snitch,” because there’s a story.
Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock”) stars as John Matthews, whose son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is set up by a friend in a drug deal. Mandatory minimum sentence laws mean that Jason faces at least 10 years in prison, unless he can help authorities snag other drug dealers.
When Jason refuses to ensnare his friends in the same manner in which he was set up, his father makes a deal with a federal prosecutor. If John works as an undercover informant and helps with the arrest of a big drug distributor, his son’s sentence will be reduced to a year.
But the stakes get higher when John’s undercover work leads him right to the heart of a drug cartel.
Beneath the action, family — specifically the father-son relationship — is the central theme of this movie. Jason has been estranged from his father ever since his parents got a divorce and John started another family. But this crisis brings them closer together and, in a way, John seems to be making up for being an inattentive father by doing everything he can to get his son out of prison.
A side story also shows ex-con Daniel (Jon Bernthal), who works for John’s construction company, trying to get out of the life he once led to give his son a chance at a better future.
Although we’re never taken very far back into any of the character’s lives, we’re given just enough to make their on-screen emotions real to us.
Johnson gives a solid performance, and viewers will be on edge every time he enters the territory of the heavily-armed drug dealers. Bernthal, too, is believable, with the struggle and stress of trying to turn his life around etched on his face. And Susan Sarandon, in the role of the federal prosecutor running for Congress, offers a cold and calculating performance that is a treat to watch.
With “Snitch,” director Ric Roman Waugh, a longtime Hollywood stuntman, has given us a fun, suspenseful action-movie that also leaves the viewers pondering whether some of the laws we have in place today are the best option.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Barry Pepper
Theaters: AMC Southroads 20, Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark Broken Arrow, RiverWalk, Owasso, Starworld 20, Sand Springs
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for drug content and sequences of violence)
Dwayne Johnson (center) stars in Snitch. Courtesy/Summit Entertainment, LLC.