Snitch (film)

Snitch is a 2013 American action thriller film[3] directed by Ric Roman Waugh and starring Dwayne Johnson, based on the experiences of DEA informant James Settembrino. 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.

Snitch Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRic Roman Waugh
Produced byDwayne Johnson
Nigel Sinclair
Matt Jackson
Jonathan King
Dany Garcia
Alex Brunner
Tobin Armbrust
Pargat Gill
Written byJustin Haythe
Ric Roman Waugh
StarringDwayne Johnson
Barry Pepper
Jon Bernthal
Michael K. Williams
Melina Kanakaredes
Nadine Velazquez
Rafi Gavron
David Harbour
Benjamin Bratt
Susan Sarandon
Music byAntonio Pinto
CinematographyDana Gonzales
Edited byJonathan Chibnall
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release date
  • February 22, 2013 (2013-02-22) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$57.9 million[2]


College student Jason Collins is video-chatting with his childhood best friend Craig Johnson. Craig discusses a box of 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. A courier delivers Craig's package to Collins' 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.

While at a barbecue, John Matthews, Jason's estranged father and owner of a construction company, is called by his ex-wife Sylvie about Jason being arrested. John and Sylvie meet and have a tense discussion while waiting 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 and Jason is denied bail. He is put in an interview room with John, Sylvie, and the investigator, who pressures Jason to inform on 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, who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign. 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 from facial wounds that Jason has been abused by other prisoners.

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, a new employee, has two prior distribution convictions. Daniel is currently leading a clean life to avoid a third strike. John offers twenty thousand dollars if Daniel will simply introduce him to a dealer; Daniel agrees, though he is unaware that John is acting as an informant.

Daniel introduces John to Malik, an extremely dangerous, high-ranking local drug dealer, who also 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. Malik agrees under the condition that John and Daniel drive the initial run themselves.

John and Agent Cooper arrange for several wire taps. John drives to the pick-up point near the Mexican border when a rival gang ambushes the pick-up, but John manages a daring escape, impressing cartel kingpin Juan Carlos "El Topo" Pintera, whose men fight off the hijackers. John then makes 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 and offers to make John a member of the cartel's inner circle if he succeeds. Keeghan relishes 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 and surrenders without engaging in a gun battle because his young son is with him. Jason is released the next day. John and his family go into the witness protection program and he leaves Daniel the large Federal reward check that John received 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. 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 officeEdit

"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 earned a total of $42,930,462 domestically and $14,894,212 internationally, for a total of $57,824,674.[8][9]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 56% based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 5.57/10. The site's critics 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."[10] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[12]


  1. ^ FilmL.A. (March 1, 2014). "2013 Feature Film Study" (PDF). Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "Snitch (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  3. ^ "Dwayne Johnson to Star in 'Snitch' Action Thriller". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  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 (2013) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Snitch (2013) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Snitch nb (2013)". Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "Snitch Reviews". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  12. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Snitch" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved June 28, 2020.

External linksEdit