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MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for drug content and sequences of violence.

Reviewed by: Russell Emory

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Action Crime Thriller Drama
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 22, 2013 (wide—2,500+ theaters)
DVD: June 11, 2013
Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate

father son relationship

being wrongly accused of a crime


father recuing his son

courage / bravery /self-sacrifice / love

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Featuring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Nadine Velazquez … Analisa
Susan Sarandonn
Jon Bernthal
Harold Perrineau … John Steele
Barry Pepper
Michael Kenneth Williams
Benjamin Bratt
Rafi Gavron
Melina Kanakaredes
Judd Lormand … Paramedic
See all »
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Producer: Exclusive Media Group
Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ
See all »
Distributor: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate

“Justice on his terms. How far would you go to save your son?”

If you want to see an action movie, don’t go see “Snitch.” If you want to see a drama about a father who will do whatever it takes to save his son, go. “Snitch” is about a father who goes undercover for the DEA in order to save his son, who was set up in a drug deal.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays (John Matthews), a construction business owner who is estranged from his first wife (Melina Kanekaredes) and son Jason (Rafi Gavron). John receives a call that Jason has been arrested and charged for distribution of illegal drugs. Jason is being set up by his friend who is trying to reduce his own sentence. Jason is facing a minimum sentence of ten years, and he refuses to set up any of his friends or turn over any drug dealers, because he doesn’t know any.

John uses his many connections to arrange a meeting with the local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon). Keeghan agrees to reduce Jason’s sentence, if John can inform on a drug dealer, but the risk will be all his. John approaches an employee of his, Daniel James (John Bernthal) who has been arrested twice for distribution of narcotics, but is trying to get his life together for his wife and son. John offers Daniel $20,000 to introduce him to a dealer, and Daniel reluctantly agrees. With the help of Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper), John ends up getting in way over his head, eventually meeting with a Mexican drug lord (Benjamin Bratt).

The movie deals with a lot of moral issues. John exposes himself to the seedy underbelly of drugs and drug trafficking. He does this all so that his son will not have to spend ten years in prison. He participates in illegal activities in order to reduce his son’s prison sentence. At first, John lies to his wife (Nadine Velasquez) about what he’s doing, , and he pulls Daniel back into a life that he is trying hard to leave behind for the good of his family. John makes many questionable decisions that put both his and Daniel’s family in danger. There are two scenes where John is shown drinking, and there is a scene where Daniel and his wife kiss, but, other than that, there are little to no sexually explicit scenes.

The language in the movie is very mild compared to many PG-13 movies. There are no major utterances of foul language. John utters the s-word twice and GD at least once, that I can recall. Some of the drug dealers in the movie use some heavier profanities, but the F-word is never spoken. One of the drug dealers uses the N-word, which will offend many.

The violence is relatively limited. There are two major scenes of violence; one is a shoot-out between two drug cartels in an El Paso salvage yard. Bodies are shown being buried after the shootout, but it is not very graphic. The end of the movie involves a chase sequence where cars are destroyed and people die, but there is no blood and guts.

The most disturbing scenes involve John and Jason during prison visitations. The two scenes show the effects of violence on Jason’s face, which moves John even more to do what he is doing for Keeghan, regardless of the cost. For me, it is the scenes that show the result of the off-screen violence that is the hardest to deal with, because many times what we imagine can be worse than what is shown onscreen.

The movie is simply what a father would do for their child. There is a scene where John is confronted by his current wife about what he is doing for Jason, and she brings up their daughter. John states that he would do the same for her, if she were in that situation. As Christians, we should recognize throughout the sacrifice that our Father has made for us. Jason is estranged from John, but John will do whatever it takes to set his son free. God has done the same for his children. God paid the ultimate price, so that we, his children, could have a relationship with him.

John repairs his relationship with his son, and we can take the time to repair our relationship with our Father. He has done more than John has done for his son, and whether we are living in his house or we are estranged from our Father, God has brokered a deal for our freedom. I saw this parallel throughout this movie. While many of John’s methods were questionable, God’s are not.

Bottom-line: I recommend “Snitch;” there is a lot to take away from this movie. I give the movie 3½ stars because the camera work is very shaky. I walked away from the movie with a slight headache. I really enjoyed the movie otherwise. The cast worked very well together, and Dwayne Johnson has come a long way since his film debut as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. Go see this film, it can remind you of a father’s love and The Father’s love for us all.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I enjoyed this movie. This is Dwayne Johnson’s best film to date. Not only has he grown as an actor, but the movie’s main theme of a father’s sacrificial love for his son is rich and impacting. I also enjoyed that it displayed a more realistic look into the life, danger and evil of drug use and distribution. I hope he makes more films like this.

Also, it was the cleanest PG-13 film I have seen in a very long time. I’m thankful for the love our Father God has for us as His children, and that He is willing to go to tremendous depths to reach us and redeem us.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Patrick, age 38 (USA)
Positive—Totally agree with Patrick. I’ll just add that Christian movie industry isn’t even close to producing movies and actors that can perform above average, and reach audience so powerfully as Hollywood does. This movie is a good example of this observation. It is true that Hollywood movies may demonstrate moral values without explaining the source of them. But I believe that it is the job for the Church to place the last piece of the puzzle.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Vlad, age 36 (USA)
Negative—Movie seems good, but they take God’s name in vain. Can’t support that!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
3rdcommandmentviolation, age 49 (USA)

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