Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock,” is known primarily for his big budget, crash-a-minute, shoot’em up action films, and an occasional comedy. They are all well made for their genres, and do strong numbers at the box office. Johnson’s latest movie, “Snitch,” is a bit of a departure and a film that may elevate the type of scripts Johnson gets offered.
“Snitch” is set in Missouri, but the city is never mentioned and the skylines shown doesn’t look like either Kansas City or St. Louis. Johnson is the divorced owner of a trucking business with a new wife and daughter, plus a teenage son by his first marriage, played by Rafi Gavron. When his son gets duped by a friend in accepting a “package” and holding it, it turns out the package has illegal drugs and the delivery is a set-up by the DEA. Johnson’s son is arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Overwrought, Johnson goes to the local Federal prosecutor, played by Susan Sarandon, and offers to hatch an undercover scheme, with the help of one of his ex-con employees, that will capture a high-level drug kingpin. In return, the Feds will cut his son’s sentence drastically and release him.
The storyline of “Snitch” gives it an opportunity be both a good dramatic motion picture and a solid action film. Tight shoots on the characters and a well-designed musical score by Brazilian composer Antonio Pinto add to the suspense. A hefty supporting cast, especially Barry Pepper as an undercover Federal agent, contribute to the quality and uncertainty about how it will all end.
“Snitch” is a career upgrade for Dwayne Johnson. Somehow, you get the feeling that was part of the plan.