Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Movie Review: "Wheelman" (2017)

Director: Jeremy Rush
Year: 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

A wheelman is double-crossed by his handler, which sends him on down a dangerous path that puts the lives of him and his family in danger.

"You do what you gotta do to survive, right?" (Image Source)
All the action of a crime thriller seen almost entirely from inside a car, only it's not Tom Hardy front and center this time. "Wheelman" is written and directed by Jeremy Rush and serves as his feature film debut. The story is about an unnamed getaway driver we know solely as 'Wheelman.' He has just finished a stretch in prison and owes a debt to a mob boss who helped take care of his family while he was inside. To pay off the debt, he takes a job as a getaway driver for a bank job. During the job, Wheelman gets a call from the guy he believes employs him, who gives him new instructions for the job. When it turns out his middleman made a separate deal behind his back, it sends Wheelman down a path that puts him in hot water with his actual employer, and may also put his family's lives in danger if he doesn't comply with the demands of the fraud.
"I can't fix this until I know who I'm dealing with." (Image Source)
"Wheelman" is a lot like the movie "Locke" if instead of selling concrete, Locke was a getaway driver for dangerous criminals. About 95% of this movie is shot from the inside of a car, and star Frank Grillo spends the majority of that time on the phone talking to/vociferously yelling at various people. This is a very simple heist movie with a bit of a gimmicky twist that allows it to be a lower budget film. For the most part, this gimmick works, and as a whole, the film is both entertaining and engaging. It's also not very long, so it goes by in a flash. On the one hand, there are several intense moments of action and suspense that makes "Wheelman" very exciting. On the other hand, the story isn't all that tightly constructed. The dialogue feels a little improvised sometimes, either that or it's just terribly inconsistent. We like the unique in-car aspect of this flick, which sets it apart from most other crime thrillers. Frank Grillo does an excellent job playing a tough guy driver. Grillo sells both the ex-con look-and-feel as well as the caring father angle. We come to understand that he is trying to make money the only way he knows how so he can survive, while also attempting to mend fences with his teenaged daughter and ex-wife.
"I don't chitchat unless it's about the job." (Image Source)
"Wheelman" is a quick, entertaining, simple, and satisfying watch for those with a Netflix subscription and 82 minutes to kill.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
RT Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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