Review: Snitch

'One of the most boring movies I’ve seen in many years. Maybe ever.'

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Snooze… Snooze…

Huh? What? Oh, you’re here. And you probably want to know what I thought about Snitch, a new thriller starring Dwayne Johnson as a father who goes undercover to get his son out of jail after a legal technicality dooms him to ten years in…


Huh? Oh, it’s you again. Sorry, I seem to be suffering from an acute and sudden case of narcolepsy brought on by Snitch, one of the most boring movies I’ve seen in many years. Maybe ever. It’s a fun concept brought down to stultifyingly low levels by an interminable running time and a musical score that never changes its tone, making every damned moment feel like the dreariest one imaginable. It’s strange, but I suspect Snitch might have been a watchable (if overlong) potboiler that just happened to have a message if composer Antonio Pinto, presumably operating under some serious misguidance, hadn’t treated it like a message movie that just happened to have a car chase in it.

Review: Snitch

Dwayne Johnson stars as a mild-mannered businessman – and already we’re straining credulity – whose son has been arrested for possession with intent to distribute. Under mandatory drug sentencing laws, his only chance of avoiding a ten-year prison sentence is to give up another, bigger drug dealer. Since he doesn’t know any, Johnson takes it upon himself to find one instead. He sifts through all the files at his construction and trucking company, leading to a hilarious montage of dangerous employees who, “unfortunately,” have never even been arrested for narcotics. It must be frustrating to discover that the men you’ve hired to operate your family business have “only” been arrested for felony aggravated assault. Would it have killed them to have smoked some crack while they were at it? What is the world coming to these days?

Finally, Johnson finds the one employee who was honest enough to admit that he’s got two strikes for drug dealing, played by “The Walking Dead’s” Jon Bernthal. Johnson pushes Bernthal to connect him with a drug dealer played by “The Wire’s” Michael K. Williams, never filling him on the reason why and jeopardizing Bernthal’s family, freedom and life in the process. District Attorney Susan Sarandon, who looks for all the world like she got lost on the way to an Oscar contender, eventually realizes that Johnson is doing a lot of the Justice Department’s work for free, and allows a DEA agent played by Barry Pepper (wearing what appears to be a puppy tail on his chin) to monitor his interactions with a series of increasingly high-ranking drug cartel kingpins.

Review: Snitch

There’s a movie there, I’m sure of it, but instead of letting Snitch play out like one, director Ric Roman Waugh wallows in low-hanging melodramatic fruit like families torn apart and long shots of people looking vaguely concerned. On the rare occasions when the action does kick up – a big shootout in the middle and a climactic car chase at the end – it plays exactly like the rest of the damned film, because the oppressive musical score couldn’t even be bothered to remind us that we’re suposed to be thrilled, scared, concerned, or even raise an eyebrow. It’s like the movie doesn’t even care about telling its own story. It just wants us to understand that the issues it raises are “important.” And indeed, yes, they are… but the same point would have come across in a ten-minute “60 Minutes” segment. Turning red tape into a sleep-inducing two-hour movie doesn’t make me want to call my congressman, it just makes me want to strike back against the filmmakers who wasted my time… by not calling my congressman.

Dwayne Johnson… can I call you Dwayne? No? Sorry. Mr. Johnson, I’m sorry I panned Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. If I knew that this was my other option, I’d have thanked God, Yahweh, L. Ron Hubbard and any other divine deity of your choice for each and every bird-pooping, pec-popping minute of it. Hell, I’ll gladly take The Tooth Fairy 2 through 30 if you agree to never put me through this again. There are people out there who only see a handful of movies in a theater per year, and there’s a slim chance that Snitch could be one of them. Now that’s an issue that deserves to be raised. Just don’t make a movie about it.

Review: Snitch

Read CraveOnline's interview with Snitch director Ric Roman Waugh.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, the co-host of The B-Movies Podcast and the co-star of The Trailer Hitch. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.