Traffic was a 2001 film by Steven Soderberg about the structure of the illegal drugs trade and the reasons the war on drugs is failing. It looks at the issue on a global scale but also shows the repercussions at a domestic level. Snitch is a middle school attempt to do something similar, if on a slightly smaller scale.
Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) is on the verge of college when his best friend contacts him about receiving a drug shipment through the mail. Jason’s only role would be to receive the package and hand it back to his friend once he’d arrived back in the country. He does not agree but his friend sends it anyway. It’s a set up and Jason is busted. Unless he sets up someone else he’s in line for 10 years in prison and a ruined life.
Jason’s dad, John Matthews, is played by The Rock. Or Dwayne Johnson. Or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I don’t know why. He’s not a great actor but he is a genial screen presence and, ordinarily, he’s a pleasure to watch.
Anyway, with Collins unable or unwilling to rat anyone out to shorten his sentence, his dad approaches Susan Sarandon, who sleepwalks through her role as the DA (or whatever her character is supposed to be), to plead leniency. Sarandon can’t do anything – there’s a mandatory minimum without co-operation – and so Matthews offers to go undercover himself and snag some bad guys.
The first problem is that the trailer sold the movie as an action thriller, but the movie is much more of a slow burn with 90% of the action occurring in the last 20 minutes. In theory, that’s not a problem with the film, it’s just a problem with the way it was sold, but it’s still a problem.
The bigger issue is with the script. It’s heavy-handed and on-the-nose throughout, never missing an opportunity to underline a point and highlight it luminous yellow. The characters are not so much 3 dimensional as, in most cases, 1D. You understand very rapidly the point the film is making but rather than move on, it chooses to make it again and again and again. It’s boring and repetetive and by the time things kick off, rather than relishing them, you want them over so you can get out of there.
Length: 1hr 52mins – Feels like: 2hrs 10mins