"Snitch" is little more than crypto-fascist bullshit of the lowest order and the nicest thing that could possibly be said about it is that it is so utterly forgettable that it never manages to quite become as bottomlessly offensive as it might have been had it been placed in more capable hands.Dwayne Johnson stars as the ordinary owner of a construction firm whose estranged son gets snared in the most glaringly obvious on-screen drug sting since "Our Idiot Brother" and is facing 10 years in prison unless he informs or ensnares others himself. Alas, the twerp won't set up his friends and so Johnson makes a deal with the ambitious distract attorney (Susan Sarandon)--he will go undercover to help the DEA (led by Barry Pepper in full Mumford & Sons drag) make a bust in order to reduce his son's sentence. While I don't claim to know that much about the legal system, this plot notion pretty much stretches well past the acceptable bounds of believability (even as the film insists that it is indeed "inspired by true events) but hey, if the feds are okay with it, who am I to argue?
To this end, he exploits the old connections of an ex-con employee (Jon Bernthal) to get close enough to entrap a local drug dealer (Michael K. Williams) and luckily for him, the dealer has no problem with taking a complete stranger into his confidence and soon our hero is in a position to bring down the entire cartel of the feared kingpin known as El Topo (Benjamin Bratt). Before long, our hero finds himself caught between the increasing demands of his superiors on both sides and eventually finds himself taking a stand from behind the wheel of his 18-wheeler via a plan so ridiculously intricate that it makes the one found in "Viva Knievel" seem plausible by comparison.
Essentially a Joe Don Baker movie sans the quiet dignity or subtlety, "Snitch" is an odious mess that starts off acting like it wants to critique the mandatory minimum laws that have crammed jails with low-level criminals without making much of an impact on the war on drugs and ends with the decidedly mixed message that any amount of dishonesty, deceitfulness and straight-up murder is perfectly justified in the war on drugs as long as the right people benefit from such behavior (i.e. whiny pasty-face white boys) and the right people get shot in the face (i.e. virtually every African-American and Hispanic male in sight).
It may sound as though I am being a little hypersensitive but trust me, the film place the race card pretty hard throughout (especially in the scene in which director offers up one ridiculous close-up after another to let viewers know that the jerk kid is being roughed up behind bars by a black inmate) but since our hero and his unwitting patsy are both married to Hispanic women, I guess that we are supposed to simply overlook this particular element. What makes this element even more difficult to swallow is the fact that the kid whose stupid decisions inspire all the subsequent action is such an unlikable cretin that even the most liberal-minded audience members would have no problem with the idea of seeing him doing at least a nickel for the crime of being a jerk.There is a good movie to be made on the subject of mandatory minimum laws and the unintended impact that they have had on countless families without actually doing what they were meant to achieve in the first place. However, such a film would require a certain level of intelligence, a willingness to grapple with potentially discomfiting material and a bare minimum of chases and shoot-outs. Needless to say, "Snitch" is not that movie. Dramatically inert, clumsily staged, indifferently acted and morally dubious at best, this is total junk and not even the strange sight of noted liberal Sarandon playing an arch-conservative D.A. whose congressional campaign is stymied by the lefty belief that she is "a hateful bitch" can quite overcome the bad taste that it leaves in the mouth afterwards.