Frank Grillo stars as the “Wheelman” – a getaway driver that has to work for mobsters in an attempt to pay off a debt. After being assigned to a seemingly routine bank heist, he quickly comes to the realisation that he may have been betrayed by his main contact and consequently spends the evening trying to save himself and his family from the gang demanding the stolen loot. As far as short Netflix feature films go, this gritty thriller isn’t the best but it’s certainly not the worst.
Director: Jeremy Rush
Writers: Jeremy Rush
Starring: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael
With little to no expectation when heading into this movie, the Wheelman happened to turn out to be a fairly decent thriller, which was capable of maintaining a solid tempo throughout, without the need of cheap thrills and violent bloodshed thrown in for the sake of it. The movie also includes some really stylish and impressive camera work without leaving the viewer disoriented like some of this kind.
From the off, you get a clear understanding of the Wheelman as a character and his desire to keep his head down and finish any job put towards him, without wanting to associate strongly with the crooks pulling off the actual heists. It’s worth noting that the filmmakers also do a good job in helping the viewer understand the relationship the Wheelman has with his estranged partner, Jessica (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) and 13-year old daughter, Katie (Caitlin Carmichael).
As previously mentioned, Frank Grillo stars as the lead in this and does a really good job of carrying the flick. His character isn’t revolutionary or one that hasn’t been seen or done before in similar thriller movies, but he carries screen presence and has more than enough charisma and charm to be invested in his personality. Another character that makes an appearance later on in the movie, is the daughter, Katie. She does a surprisingly good job especially in the scenes where she is present rather than just speaking with her father over the phone.
On a whole, Wheelman was an extremely unique movie that was shot almost entirely within a vehicle. Surprisingly, even when scenes and events were taking place outside of the vehicle, the camera remained within the car. I can understand some viewers being put off by that, but I thought the camera crew did a great job of capturing what needed to be captured from a single vantage point. This certainly has similar traits of comparable movies, Drive and Locke springing instantly to mind, but ultimately does a good job as a standalone picture.
Overall, if you’re hoping for a reasonably suspenseful getaway movie with a unique style, coherent plot and somewhat pleasing ending, then this should appeal. Especially with the movie only having a short runtime, there’s worse ways to spend eighty-two minutes of your time. Give it a shot.
“I drive the car. I’m the Wheelman, okay? That’s it. End of story.”Wheelman – Wheelman