Feb. 20, 2013 - Issue #905: DOA No more - Trading in punk for politics
In Snitch, however, Johnson has found himself such an engrossing script that the film easily overcomes his less than chameleon-like acting abilities. Emphasizing that the story is "inspired by true events" right off the top, Snitch wrings a tension-fueled tale out of the strict mandatory sentencing minimums, as they apply to drug-related crimes, in the United States.
When John Matthews (Johnson) finds out his son is facing 10 years in jail for accepting a FedEx'd package of ecstasy on behalf of his best friend, Matthews sets about negotiating with the District Attorney (Susan Sarandon). Manipulating the DA's ability to reduce sentencing if the accused can inform on another drug dealer, Matthews offers to go undercover to help arrest any ol' criminal he stumbles upon in exchange for a reduced sentence for his son.
According to the "infographic" on the movie's website, being an informant is a grey legal area that can lead to side effects as uncomfortable as unexpected death. So, if you can get over how bat-shit crazy it is that the DA would let an innocent civilian start negotiating with drug cartels, the rest of the film is enjoyably stress inducing. It's the kind of action movie where the hero isn't invincible—bullets hurt, cars are subject (pretty much) to the laws of physics and even Matthews, our "hero," makes some pretty selfish decisions to save his son.
It's hard to watch Johnson say things like "let's move some equity around" in his day job as a successful businessman, but once he get embroiled in the war on drugs—playing both sides against each other to save his son—the acting doesn't matter so much ... you'll just be worried about everyone getting out alive. And about ending mandatory minimums.
Opens Opens Friday
Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
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