Snitch on DVD and Blu-ray

Thursday, 31 October 2013 05:40

Snitch comes to Blu-ray and DVDInspired by real events, “Snitch” is the story of a father who goes to extreme lengths after his son is incarcerated for possession of drugs with intent to sell. John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson – “Fast & Furious 6”, “G I Joe Retaliation”) is the owner of a construction haulage firm who makes a risky deal with the DEA in order to commute his son’s 10-year sentence. John goes undercover and agrees to transport drugs to get closer to the local cartel boss.

Matthews’ son, Jason (Rafi Gavron – “Breaking and Entering”) is set up by his best mate and effectively tricked into harbouring drugs that land him in such hot water. To get him out, John approaches Daniel (John Bernthal – The Walking Dead), an ex-con on his workforce to help make contact with the cartel. Once they are in, the more trafficking jobs they do and the higher up the tree they go, the greater the risks, especially as Jason is struggling to keep his head above water in prison.

Director Ric Roman Waugh (“Felon”) says he cast The Rock partly because he wanted to show another side to the actor, one where he is vulnerable and has to use his smarts to survive instead of his brawn. To my mind he is only partially successful. Johnson is a decent enough actor in comparison to most of his action-movie buddies, but his towering physique and explosive back catalogue work against him when he tries to convince us that he is an ordinary Joe.

“Snitch” is more of a drama than an action film. Fortunately the dramatic scenes are performed well by a strong cast that also includes Susan Sarandon as a manipulative federal prosecutor, and Barry Pepper as a cop caught between his boss’s orders and his desire to keep Matthews alive. Michael K Williams from The Wire plays more or less the same character as he did in that show, albeit with the menace turned down from eleven to ten.

Family plays a central role in the movie, not least because John is forced to juggle between his ex-wife and Jason on the one hand, and his current wife and their young daughter on the other. His undercover activity endangers both groups despite his best efforts to shield them from danger. Both women have bold characters, admirably played by Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: NY) and Nadine Velazquez (“Flight”). Daniel also has a family and with two prior convictions, the penalty for being busted a third time means he is constantly on edge and seriously wary of what John is getting them into.

When the film does turn to action, the scenes are competently directed but lack the tension they strive for and so badly need to make the movie work. Waugh’s background is in stunt work, and although the stunts are decent enough (quite a few cars get wrecked), they lack dynamism. I think it partly harks back to my point about The Rock being so well known as a near-indestructible action hero; in this film he is placed in peril on several occasions but you never believe he is truly in danger.

In summary I would rate this film as average. The plot, acting and action are solid but all unexceptional. Had the makers cast a more believable actor in the leading role then it might have been more compelling.

Special features include:

  • ‘Making-of’ featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Director Ric Roman Waugh and Editor Jonathan Chibnall
  • Deleted Scenes

The 'making-of' is, like the main feature, a solidly-constructed affair; Waugh is certainly enthusiastic about his movie and happy to share in detail his thoughts behind its casting and production.

“Snitch” (2013) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Entertainment One. The main feature has a running time of 111 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £17.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

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