Ralph Potts reviews this thriller, inspired by true events, that tells the story of just how far one father will go to reduce his son’s prison sentence.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Disc Format: BD-66
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Barry Pepper
Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Music by: Antonio Pinto
Written by: Justin Haythe & Ric Roman Waugh
Region Code: A
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Snitch stars Dwayne Johnson as a successful businessman who learns his son faces 10 tough years in a federal hole for drug possession. Convinced it was a set-up, he volunteers to become an undercover informant, and infiltrate a ruthless cartel. Now, with his back against the wall and his life totally on the line, he must expose the true criminals before they discover his identity.
Snitch is one of those movies that I planned on seeing, but never got around to. When I saw it was being released on Ultra HD Blu-ray I jumped at the chance to finally check it out. When I learned at the film’s opening that it was based on true events I was even more intrigued. The plot is pretty straight forward, a young man attempts to do a friend a favor, albeit and illegal one, by accepting deliverance of a delivered package that contains illegal drugs. Things go sideways when the package is part of a sting by the federal authorities. He is arrested and unless he is willing to provide details on other drug dealing activities to lessen his sentence, he is looking at 10 years in prison.
Enter his father, a local trucking business owner, who offers the prosecuting attorney a deal that would involve him landing a big fish, through one of his employees, that could get his son a plea deal. This would involve many moving parts and the potential for playing a game of cat and mouse with some very dangerous people.
As I watched Snitch I found myself wondering aloud, how in the world this could be based on actual events. The premise is pretty farfetched and suggested that everyone from the Feds, to the U.S. Attorney, to the drug dealers/traffickers were naïve. As things unfold it all seems pretty improbable and convenient. For me, probably based on my law enforcement experience, it took the fun out of enjoying the story. I like Dwayne Johnson and Jon Bernthal, and enjoyed their chemistry onscreen. Susan Sarandon was miscast and totally lacked credibility as the hardnosed U.S. Attorney. The action, suspense and drama was fine, and had this been fiction based, would have been a complimentary element to the story.
At the end of the day my reaction to Snitch would best be described as lukewarm.
The rating is for drug content and sequences of violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
UHD Presentation: 74
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color:
- Visual Impact:
Dolby Atmos Rating: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Level of immersion:
- Soundstage integration:
- Audio object placement:
- Entertainment factor:
Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:
Snitch comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 65 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
For its presentation in Ultra HD Snitch was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD either sourced from 2K or 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.
In looking at the opening moments the first thing that struck me was that there wasn’t an appreciable uptick in sharpness and detail compared to the Blu-ray. Upon closer inspection, I could make out finer details in facial features and clothing but this predominantly came during close ups. On occasion, discernible improvements in depth could be seen in wide-angle shots such as those taking place in the various interior venues, during the cartel meeting, or highway chase, but in most respects I saw little difference in apparent resolution when checking select scenes from the UHD and Blu-ray. The rendering of color, especially primaries, was slightly more vibrant, and fleshtones had a bit more tonal warmth, which was a plus.
I also found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, both bright and dark. With the exception of the nighttime sequence involving the failed takedown, or the daytime cartel meeting, the image didn’t make any visually compelling use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements. In general, the image appeared to be middle of the road, when compared to the better Ultra HD presentations I have seen. I wouldn’t describe it as poor quality but there is little about this Ultra HD presentation that left an impression on me.
In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety, but considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is limited to atmospherics and occasional panning fills. This is done to good effect when implemented. Examples can be found during the cartel meeting shootout, and the highway chase in the finale. The music score is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. While this mix doesn’t make constant use of discretely placed audio objects, I found myself involved when it mattered and found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation.
- Disc 1: Snitch Ultra HD Blu-ray
Disc 2: Snitch Blu-ray
- Privileged Information: The Making of Snitch
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ric Roman Waugh and Editor Jonathan Chibnall
- Deleted Scenes
- Digital HD Copy
Inspired by true events Snitch is a passable drama thriller that is made a bit better by solid performances by Dwayne Johnson and Jon Bernthal. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring fair but, unremarkable Ultra HD image quality, complimentary Dolby Atmos surround sound and a middling supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. Depending on how big a fan you are Snitch may or may not be worth the upgrade to Ultra HD Blu-ray. Perhaps a rental is a good place to start.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package