Director: Ted Demme
Screenwriters: Mike Armstrong

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


The captivating intensity of Ted Demme’s new film, Snitch, boils to the surface from the very first frame. Expertly filled with a marvel of location-specific details, the film masterfully deals with entrenched codes of loyalty and honor.

Born and raised in the working-class Irish enclave of Charlestown in Boston, Bobby (Denis Leary) and his “townie” buddies are petty criminals who spend their lives playing hockey, robbing houses, and drinking at the local pub. In their thirties, they still live at home, stealing cars for Jackie (Colm Meaney), the local rogue. They live in fear of crossing him since he takes their bets and their money. Bobby’s younger cousin, Seamus, has just arrived from Dublin and is unaccustomed to the brutality of American life. After one of their own is gunned down in their watering hole and the police learn no one will talk, they are forced to reexamine the price of silence.

Charlestown may be only a short walk across the bridge from downtown Boston, but the two neighborhoods have only a conspicuous accent in common. The film boldly addresses the inevitable truth that where we come from shapes what we become and what is expected of us; there is no escape. Demme triumphs in breathing new life into a neighborhood story, riddling the narrative with tension and surprise. Denis Leary, also credited with cowriting the screenplay, gives a potent and layered performance as an antihero. Snitch is a powerful film that pries open a door and gives us a glimpse into a world where access is normally prohibited.

Ted Demme, Director
Snitch is director Ted Demme’s fourth feature film. His other films are Who’s the Man, The Ref, and Beautiful Girls. He is currently directing Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in Life. Spanky Pictures, his production company along with his paartner, Joel Stillerman, is producing Rounders, directed by John Dahl for Miramax Films. Spanky Pictures is also producing Blow with Apostle and A Lesson before Dying for HBO.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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