Nobody is going to confuse a Dwayne Johnson movie with “Les Misérables.” But “Snitch” gets a decent amount of drama (and action, of course) out of the argument that there’s paying for a crime, and then there’s overpaying.
Johnson plays John Matthews, a construction company owner whose comfortable life gets shaken up, fast, when his teenage son (Rafi Gavron) gets caught with a buddy’s ecstasy shipment in a drug sting. Action-figure physique notwithstanding, John has his flaws, and he’s believably aggravated by the episode, blaming his ex (Melina Kanakaredes), and telling the authorities: Good, keep the kid locked up overnight and scare him straight. What Dad doesn’t realize is that his son is a “mandatory minimum” case, part of a sentencing system that has him facing 10 years of prison time unless he can help the feds make further arrests. (The movie, which drew on a 1999 “Frontline” segment for inspiration, is vague about its “inspired by true events” ad line — probably wisely, when we get to the shoot-outs and “Road Warrior” stuff. Still, the end credits plug a website that links to all manner of mandatory-minimum protest resources, activist petitions, etc.)