Excepting Susan Sarandon’s (Joanne Keeghan), the performances are heartfelt. Dwayne Johnson plays John Matthews with somber verve, keeping the character’s emotions just below the surface, there for us to see. Rafi Gavron captures Jason’s vulnerability and weakness at every turn, and John Bernthal, the movie’s real star, is excellent as Daniel Cruz.
The plot is engaging enough to keep Snitch interesting throughout, so long as you don’t stop to think about it.
The film has an important and thought-worthy theme.
Some of the images are beautiful.
Even if their beauty is overshadowed by Writer/Director Ric Roman Waugh’s incessant shaky cam. When characters are moving: shaky cam. When a semi is slamming into parked objects: shaky cam. When characters are sitting still, talking: shaky cam. Here the camera is terribly distracting.
A weak screenplay also overshadows the images. Male characters are underdeveloped, with just one or two notes, from which they never break.
Females are worse. Analisa (Nadine Velasquez) and Vannesa (Lela Loren) each have a scene or two wherein they complain about their husbands’ bad decisions, but, ultimately, both are entirely defined by their men.
Law enforcement characters are somehow still worse. Co-Writer Justin Haythe and Vaughn seemingly cannot decide who Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) and Cooper (Barry Pepper) are. In one scene, Keeghan wants to protect John from himself. In the next, she’s convinced he’ll never stop and she can use him. Later, she wants to protect John from Cooper’s plan, at least for one scene, until she’s happy throwing John to death so she can snag a big arrest. Then, it’s Cooper who’s uncomfortable with the risks. Here the variances do not create characters with depth; they create characters without the slightest definition.
Once you stop to think about it, the plot, littered with holes, is just as bad, the most glaring of which is that the legal system doesn’t work like this.
Because of all of these flaws, Snitch loses much of its thematic weight and winds up being a silly action adventure not worth remembering or viewing.