A solid thriller that hints at a life beyond blockbusters for leading man Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson moves away from film franchises to flex some acting muscles in this appealing new thriller. Dispensing with Johnson’s tough guy persona in favour of a more down-to-earth, everyman approach, Snitch offers a commentary on America’s war on drugs. In particular it explores new laws involving mandatory sentencing that encourage even first-time offenders to stitch up potentially innocent friends in exchange for leniency.
Johnson plays an honest trucking company manager who finds his son (Rafi Gavron) facing 10 years in prison after unwittingly agreeing to receive a shipment of ecstasy pills for a friend. After striking a deal with a ruthless DA (Susan Sarandon) he assumes the burden of providing information himself, hooking up with an ex-con employee (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal) to approach a drug cartel under the watchful guise of the DEA (led by Barry Pepper).
Ric Roman Waugh’s film adopts a slow burn approach that has more in common with gritty, character-based 70s thrillers than anything Johnson’s fans may commonly associate him with, and succeeds in showing a more thoughtful side to the actor. The early scenes, in which moral and ethical dilemmas are placed to the fore and given time to breathe, are particularly engrossing and also allow for the possibility of provoking some intelligent debate.
The film eventually detours into more action-based territory, when credibility is seriously strained, but by then viewers should be suitably hooked to overlook some of the more contrived elements. Overall it's a solid thriller that hints at a life beyond blockbusters for its leading man.
General release from Fri 21 Jun.