Snitch (film)

Not to be confused with Snatch (film).

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
Produced by Dwayne Johnson
Nigel Sinclair
Matt Jackson
Jonathan King
Dany Garcia
Alex Brunner
Tobin Armbrust
Pargat Gill
Written by Justin Haythe
Ric Roman Waugh
Starring Dwayne Johnson
Barry Pepper
Susan Sarandon
Benjamin Bratt
Jon Bernthal
Michael Kenneth Williams
Music by Antonio Pinto
Cinematography Dana Gonzales
Edited by Jonathan Chibnall
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release dates
  • February 22, 2013 (2013-02-22) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $57.8 million[2][3]

Snitch is a 2013 American crime drama film directed by Ric Roman Waugh and starring Dwayne Johnson. The film was released in the United States on February 22, 2013. The film also stars Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Benjamin Bratt and Michael Kenneth Williams.


The film opens with Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) video-chatting with his childhood best friend Craig Johnson (James Allen McCune). Craig brings up a box drugs that he is attempting to move and attempts to persuade Jason to let Craig ship the drugs to his house, offering him a share of the profit. Despite Jason's reluctance, Craig texts him the tracking number for the package. Meanwhile, John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson), Jason's estranged father and owner of a construction company, sees Daniel James (Jon Bernthal), a new employee, doing overtime work, and helps him with it.

A courier delivers Craig's package to the Collins's house. Jason signs for the package and brings it to his room, discovering that it contains a large amount of pills in a bag, as well as a tracking device. DEA officers arrive and break into the house; Jason flees but is chased down by Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper).

While at a barbecue, John receives a call from his ex-wife Sylvie (Melina Kanakaredes) about Jason having been arrested. John and Sylvie meet at the police station and have a tense discussion while waiting to be allowed to speak to Jason. An investigator speaks with them, saying that Craig set Jason up in a sting operation to reduce his own sentence after being caught. Jason's charges carry a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Jason is arraigned in court where he is denied bail. He is put in an interview room with, John, Sylvie, and the investigator, who pressures Jason to plead guilty to narcotics trafficking and set up one of his own friends for trafficking in order to reduce his own sentence, as Craig had done.

Using his connections, John arranges to meet with local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign to bolster her chances for election to Congress. Keeghan agrees to reduce Jason's sentence if John will inform on a drug dealer, but states that he'll receive little help from her and that the risk will be all his.

John visits Jason in prison, observing that Jason is being brutalized by other prisoners. John feels responsible because he was not there for his son, and realizes that Jason may be killed before he finishes his prison sentence.

Agent Cooper leads a task force which will monitor any dealings John arranges to use as evidence for an arrest. John searches through his employee records and finds that Daniel James has two prior distribution convictions. Daniel is currently leading a clean life to avoid a third strike, because he now has a wife and young son to care for. John offers twenty thousand dollars if Daniel will simply introduce him to a dealer; Daniel initially refuses, but later agrees so that he can move his family to a safer apartment, though he is unaware that John is acting as an informant.

Daniel introduces John to Malik (Michael Kenneth Williams), an extremely dangerous, high-ranking local drug dealer, who like Daniel has two strikes. Explaining that his construction business cannot stay afloat in the current economy without a supplement to its revenues, John offers to run nearly limitless amounts of drugs at almost zero risk in his freight trucks. Because his is a legitimate business, the trucks avoid suspicion and carry too much freight to be thoroughly searched. Malik agrees under the condition that John and Daniel drive the initial run themselves.

John and Agent Cooper arrange for several wire taps to be put in place to record the transactions involved. John drives to the pick-up point near the Mexican border. In the process, a rival gang ambushes the pick-up, but John manages a daring escape, impressing cartel kingpin Juan Carlos "El Topo" Pintera (Benjamin Bratt), whose men fight off the hijackers. John successfully completes his end of the deal, delivering the drugs to Malik while under surveillance by Agent Cooper.

Malik mentions a meeting with cartel members higher than himself; Cooper, hoping to catch the higher priority targets, does not move to arrest Malik as agreed. Keeghan claims Cooper did the right thing and reneges on her promise to reduce Jason's sentence, unless John cooperates in the second meeting. John, outraged, demands in turn that Jason be released when the job is completed. Daniel learns of John's arrangement with the DEA and is furious, saying that the cartel will kill John, Daniel, and their families if the truth comes out. John and Daniel send their families into hiding.

John meets with Pintera, who wants him to run nearly $100 million in drug profits into Mexico, where the cartel's base of operations is located, and offers to make John a member of the cartel's inner circle if he succeeds. Keeghan is ecstatic about the prospect of arresting such a high-profile dealer, but Cooper has a change of heart and tries to talk John out of doing the run, suspecting the cartel will kill him afterward.

John devises a plan to free himself and Daniel from both the government and the cartel. During the run, John is able to escape Cooper's surveillance. At the same time, Daniel raids Malik's house, killing his guards and mortally wounding him. Before dying, Malik reveals Pintera's cell phone number to Daniel. John calls Cooper and has him track both his new cell phone and Pintera's phone, effectively giving Cooper both the money and the kingpin at once. The cartel realize John is an informant and he leads them on a highway chase and shoot-out before escaping. Cartel members and the money are seized by Cooper's men. Pintera is surrounded by federal agents; unwilling to engage in a gun battle because his young son is with him, he surrenders.

Jason is released the next day. John and his family go into the witness protection program; Daniel refuses, saying he and his family will go into hiding on their own. Because Daniel has lost his job, John leaves Daniel the large reward check that John was supposed to receive for the capture of Pintera.



Snitch is directed by Ric Roman Waugh and written by Waugh and Justin Haythe. The project was first set up in 2004 by Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, partners at Spitfire Pictures. They were inspired by a Frontline documentary about how changes to the federal drug policy of the United States encouraged the incarcerated to snitch on their accomplices. Justin Haythe wrote the initial screenplay, and Waugh was hired to rewrite it. In March 2011, actor Dwayne Johnson was cast in the film's starring role.[4] Filming began in December 2011 in Bossier City, Louisiana,[5] and concluded on January 19, 2012.[6]


Snitch was released on February 22, 2013 in the United States and Canada. The film is distributed by Lionsgate subsidiary Summit Entertainment.[7]


Box office

Snitch opened in 2,511 theaters in the United States and grossed $13,167,607, with an average of $5,244 per theater, and ranking #2 at the box office. The film ultimately earned $42,930,462 domestically and $14,894,212 internationally, for a total of $57,824,674.[2][3]

Critical response

Snitch received mixed reviews from critics and has a "rotten" score of 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 140 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6 out of 10. The critical consensus states, "Though it features one of Dwayne Johnson's more thoughtful performances, the presentation of Snitch's underlying message is muddled by lackluster storytelling and some tonal inconsistencies."[8] The film also has a score of 51 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 34 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews."[9]


  1. "". Retrieved 5 June 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  2. 1 2 "Snitch (2013) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Snitch (2013) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  4. McNary, Dave (March 22, 2011). "Dwayne Johnson to star in 'Snitch'". Variety.
  5. Sneider, Jeff (November 16, 2011). "Kanakaredes, Velazquez join 'Snitch'". Variety.
  6. Sneider, Jeff (December 6, 2011). "Benjamin Bratt hitches to 'Snitch'". Variety.
  7. McNary, Dave (September 18, 2012). "Lionsgate sets 'Snitch' release". Variety.
  8. "Snitch". 22 February 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  9. "Snitch". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
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