Wrestler wins in role KO
Snitch features Dwayne Johnson’s low-key charisma, writes Moira MacDonald
LIKE Taken, which warned parents their Europe-bound daughters just might end up as sex slaves requiring Liam Neeson to save them, Snitch is a publicservice announcement of sorts.
This time, we’re alerted to the grim fate of accidental teenage drug dealers – even those whose fathers look like action figures.
In Snitch, an 18-year-old kid named Jason (Rafi Gavron) foolishly allows a friend to mail him a package of ecstasy.
Both are caught, but Jason’s plight is worse: His friend frames him, getting a reduced sentence, while Jason, with no one to rat out, faces 10 years in prison.
Luckily, Jason’s dad, John (Dwayne Johnson), after looking up ‘‘drug cartels’’ on Wikipedia, offers a deal to a US attorney (a huffy Susan Sarandon): He’ll go undercover into the drug trade and risk his own life, in exchange for leniency for his son.
No one’s going to mistake the massive Johnson (formerly a wrestling star known as The Rock) for a nuanced actor – he sometimes falters in moments that require, say, acting while walking. But he’s a likable, soothing presence, and he handles his devoted-father role with quiet confidence.
Despite a couple of nifty car chases (including one in which a shiny truck even bigger than Johnson rolls and slides with unexpected and impressive grace), Snitch is more of a dramatic thriller than an action movie, and director Ric Roman Waugh fills it with close-ups, dark interiors and tense faces.
It’s a competent if unremarkable film, even though it lacks a certain suspense – you never fear for a moment that John won’t persevere in his quest to nab bad guys, save his son and amble into the sunset.
Johnson, with his low-key charisma, may not yet be an actor, but he’s certainly a movie star.
Snitch opens today.
Dwayne Johnson stars as a dad who goes undercover in the drug trade to save his son from a long jail term in