Wheelman (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Director: Jeremy Rush
Writer: Jeremy Rush
Stars: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, Garret Dillahunt

Plot:  A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.

Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes

IMDB Score: 6.5

Why I watched it: Really liked the trailer and I’m a big fan of Frank Grillo, think he’s very underrated.  Plus this looked like a throw back movie, no CGI, almost refreshing.

Thoughts: This is a Netflix original movie and I like the fact that this is a small genre film and also it gets someone like Frank Grillo to be the lead, I really hope Netflix makes more of these films cause it gives some very good actors that aren’t box office names a chance to carry a film.

What I liked: Without a doubt this is a throw back, this film takes it’s time, it’s not slow and it’s only 82 minutes so it’s not padded but it’s a film that goes at it’s own pace. The other thing I like is that the film unfolds, we don’t know what’s going on at first, we’re along for the ride we learn things as the main character does.  This really helps with the tension cause as the Wheelman deals with the twists and turns so do we, we can’t think farther ahead than the him he does cause we don’t have a clue what’s going on.  I was also surprised that the film is very complicated, this isn’t just a car film or a chase film this has a pretty well written crime story to it.

The film is carried by Frank Grillo and he’s very good, he gets to have all the beats, he’s a bad ass, he’s a dupe, a father, a good guy, a shady guy and also someone who thinks, the key with this film is the tag line drive fast think faster.  The film is pretty much real time, well at least it plays out in one night and it does feel like it and that also helps with the atmosphere and tension. What I like about Grillo has an actor is that he has an edge but he’s very charming and likeable.  He can pull off the action and also the acting which is tricky now a days.

Another thing I want to touch on, early in the film the whole thing is in the car and a lot of the tension is Wheelman on the phone this is how the plot is basically unfolded and I thought it was very smart, every call was something for him to deal with, his daughter, his friend and also the bad guys.  A clever way to keep the plot moving and also the tension.

The look of the film is very cool it’s all at night and it makes everything more scary and puts you on edge.  I would keep a lookout for this writer and director  Jeremy Rush, this film is well written and directed very well, this film does an interesting thing on two occasions the film stays with the car as the lead is off doing something, in one scene Grillo goes into a bar to get someone but we don’t go in as viewers we stay in the car and we pick up the action when they come out, it was very effective cause it puts you on edge and keeps you guessing on what’s going on.

What I didn’t like: Honestly not a lot, I have nitpicks, one the character of the ex-wife is a cliche and a very tired one.  The throw the Wheelman’s daughter into this and I’m not a big fan of throwing kids in danger just for added suspense but to the film’s credit it does make it work but early on it seemed forced.

Final thoughts: I really liked this film it’s a solid B-Movie but done very well and done seriously, this is not a light film there’s weight to it.  It’s a crisp and well told story.

Rating: 7/10

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