An 18-year-old boy (Rafi Gavron) is entrapped and convicted of a drug offense, which leads to a mandatory 10 year sentence. To get it reduced to 2 years, he must trap someone else, which he refuses to do, even though prison is a dangerous place for him to be. His father (Dwayne Johnson) negotiates with the DA (Susan Sarandon) to go undercover himself, in exchange for his son’s early release.
Yet in this movie, Dwayne Johnson is the successful business owner of a construction company. Not a cop, not a football player, not a military expert. He never shows any tattoos or even his muscled arms. The toughest he ever looks is in the movie poster! He jumps when a gun is pulled on him by a drug lord, gets beaten up by 5 little street corner drug dealers, and can’t even reload a rifle when laying in his smashed-up semi. Not the Dwayne Johnson we know and love!
In fact, Dwayne Johnson was in two of the trailers before the movie: G. I.: Joe Retaliation (Army machine gunner) and Fast & Furious 6 (dangerous federal agent). It took some time to re-set our expectations to his Snitch character.
But it was worth it to reset, because you can see some quality acting on his part. He is a divorced dad, torn between the old family he left and the new family he is growing. In scenes with his ex-wife (Melina Kanakaredes), you can see his annoyance, and even blame, just under the surface, even as he awkwardly comforts her.
The sub-story is also great to watch. To get close to the drug lord, he manipulates an employee (Jon Bernthal) with a prison past. This poor man is just trying to straighten out his life for his wife and son, yet gets forced back in by his desperate boss.
The moral of the story is that mandatory sentences are too restricting to small-time criminals.
The moral of the story is never open a package that your friend sends you if you know it contains illegal drugs. Just don’t!