Saturday, 25 May 2013

REVIEW - SNITCH


I didn't expect much of Snitch, which is possibly why I liked it. Had I been expecting a masterpiece, I might not have been so considerate, but no matter how credible Dwayne Johnson becomes as an actor in the eyes of others, I'll likely always struggle to actually want to see one of his films. One of Snitch's greatest strengths is its complexity - here is a film which occasionally teeters on the brink of banality, but is usually able to spy one fortuitous narrative or philosophical route to pursue, holding itself ever above the average mid-level Hollywood thriller. It has the hallmarks of a high-concept action film, but has precious little time for said action; it's like the writers came up with a simple idea for such a film, but realised that the only satisfactory way to film this idea was to embellish it with a credible backstory, and then realised that this backstory was bleeding in to the rest of their film, and that all the little details they had integrated were lending to a more full-bodied, dramatically charged film than they had imagined. A political agenda that is liberally (pun intended) utilised suggests that Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh gave this a little more initial thought than that. They stamp Snitch with a startling statement at the end that drains it of what subtlety it might have had, but the effect is rather stronger than anything else in the whole film. A humanitarian sensibility and a feel for naturalism hew Snitch close to David Simon's The Wire, as does the appearance of the peerless Michael Kenneth Williams, and intense, mellow cinematography gives it a pleasing immediacy and tactility. Cast performances are very good, although Susan Sarandon's hammy portrayal of a conservative DA belongs in another film. Antonio Pinto's score is a highlight. A mistrust in drug abuse and criminality is topped by a mistrust in politicians, both of which are balanced by a fervid trust in The Rock, although his portrayal of a naive but tenacious family man isn't very convincing. A late action sequence isn't badly handled, but it is a let-down after preceding developments.