DRAMA; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, John Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Melina Kanakaredes
Gang busters: from left, Pepper, Sarandon and Johnson
“Inspired by true events,” Snitch demonstrates with queasy clarity how easy it is for the innocent to slip-slide between prison bars. Johnson is construction-business operator John Matthews, whose 18-year-old son from his first marriage (Rafi Gavron as Jason) is jailed for 10 years for dealing drugs. Jason isn’t guilty but the rigid legal system doesn’t care. Matthews does.
With desperate enterprise, he becomes an informer for the Drug Enforcement Administration, inveigling his way into a drug cartel and arranging to transport a stash. The payoff for an arrest would be Jason’s release. The payoff for audiences is a nimbly filmed thriller from director Ric Roman Waugh that puts us squarely in the hot seat of Matthews’s shiny, new truck — and what a sticky perch it is.
Snitch is by-the-book beefy, which suits a deadly serious Johnson down to the ground. His back-up is solid, too, with Bernthal as a wary ex-con roped back in, a scraggily-bearded Pepper as a principled DEA agent and Sarandon as a crafty federal prosecutor who brings a ladylike sheen to brass balls.