Lifetime Dramatization of a 60 Minutes Story: Snitch (2013)

My wife absolutely loves watching those real crime shows. I’ll go to bed and she’ll be curled up with her iPad watching an episode of Investigation Discovery or Nightmare Next Door or Catch My Killer, etc., etc. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to pee and she’ll still be watching. She gets so entrenched in the shows that she’ll stop the show to Google someone or some aspect of the episode she’s watching. The next morning she’ll give me a rundown of all the crazy shit she watched.

I’ve never really cared much about real-life shows like that. By extension, the whole “based on a true story” in movies has never mattered. If it’s a compelling story, fact or fiction, is all that matters. More often than not the whole true story thing makes me itch. Filmmakers are often VERY liberal in their creative license with what’s “real” in those stories.

So, the fact that Snitch is based on a true story only serves to distract from the movie. Did the son get buggered in prison? Did the undercover cop really have that cool of a goatee? Can an eighteen wheeler really pop a wheelie?

All things considered, none of that really matters—except for the wheelie. That would be totally tits! The only problem is it’s not in the movie. Sigh.

Snitch is basically a dramatization of 60 Minutes report. Actually I believe it was a Frontline report, but I digress. A young man, Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron), makes the mistake of taking a shipment of drugs for a friend. Little does know his friend has sold him out with the hopes of getting a reduced sentence. Because Jason doesn’t know of any other drug dealers, he isn’t able to sell someone else out in turn reduce his sentence. So, John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Jason’s father, goes undercover to help bring down a local drug lord to help his son.

The filmmaker’s bias is completely transparent. The whole “mandatory sentencing is bad” was heavy handed. I completely agree that sentencing first time drug offenders more harshly than rapists, murderers and other violent criminals is idiotic. Thing is, this movie isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about that. Worst still, those who agree will be annoyed with being beat over the head with it. I came to be entertained, not coached on how to vote.

I smoke pot, watch 20/20 and I vote. Who gives a shit? Get on with the story already.

Now, as for the story, the hardest thing to suspend my disbelief about was The Rock. Not that I couldn’t believe him as a caring father who would go to any length to help his son; that was all good. I couldn’t accept, in any universe, no matter how bizarro, he could get his ass handed to him—by a group of young thugs.  All of the action movies he’s been in, all the wrassling, etc., has typecast him as a bad-ass. Period. That giant mother fucker would twist open a can of whoop ass, bare handed, on all the fools in this movie, including  Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), the county D.A. If anyone needed The People’s Elbow it was Keeghan. What a miserable witch, with a capital B!

One laudable aspect of Snitch is Benjamin Bratt as Juan Carlos ‘El Topo’ Pintera. Sadly I have to admit that at first I kept thinking, “Wow! I haven’t seen Lou Diamond Phillips since Young Guns. It’s good to see he’s still in the game.” Then I read Bratt’s name in the credits and was sad. Oh well, where ever you are Lou, best of luck to you. It’s probably better you’re doing other things.

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