MojibMojib   September 28, 2017  
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Jeremy Rush
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October 20, 2017
A close-quarters crime film whose protagonist stays behind the wheel but is rarely in the driver's seat, Wheelman gives fan-favorite tough guy Frank Grillo a chance to open up in a starring vehicle. The directing debut of Jeremy Rush, this solid genre pic plays like a pulpy cousin to Steven Knight's 2013 Locke, less formally rigorous but more inviting. It will be a welcome diversion for those who stumble across it on Netflix, where it debuts next month, and should help raise its lead's profile in the genre world.

Frank Grillo (Kingdom, Captain America: Civil War) stars as the wheelman, a getaway driver thrust into a high stakes race-to-survive after a bank robbery goes terribly wrong. With a car full of money and his family on the line, the clock is ticking to figure out who double-crossed him and the only person he can trust… his fourteen-year-old daughter. All reasons to think fast and drive faster.

Here, Grillo finds himself as a family man and former bank getaway driver who, betrayed by a mystery individual, is left with a car full of stolen cash that has put him and his family in danger, forcing him to drive fast on the run, with only the help of his 14-year-old daughter.
More important to the film than the underworld drama is a plotline involving Grillo's teenaged daughter. In his first calls with Katie, who is home alone with an untrustworthy boyfriend, the parenting angle plays like comic relief: Here I am about to steal a quarter-million dollars, and I have to deal with this? But Rush is more invested in the relationship than he initially seems to be, and Katie (veteran child actor Caitlin Carmichael) proves enjoyably essential to the picture's third act.

Wheelman was written and directed by Jeremy Rush. Frank Grillo, Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team), and The Solution Group’s Myles Nestel (The November Man, Machete) serve as producers. J. Todd Harris, Chady Mattar, and Scott Silver serve as executive producers.
As does a hot vintage Porsche, a nice step up from the intentionally "nondescript" car Grillo drives for most of the film. The movie's tight framing and economy of angles means Wheelman's chases aren't as thrilling as they might have been, but that Porsche helps set things straight with chase-movie fans in the end.

Netflix has unveiled an intense first teaser trailer for an action film titled Wheelman, about a "wheelman" getaway driver. We've already seen one great film this year about a getaway driver (Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, if you haven't seen it yet it's definitely recommended), so why not another? Wheelman seems to be told entirely from the perspective of the driver, with most shots inside the car, taking place over the course of one night and one bank robbery that goes terribly wrong. Frank Grillo stars as the wheelman, with a cast including Garret Dillahunt, Caitlin Carmichael, Wendy Moniz, and William Xifaras. This looks like it could be cool, or at least as a fun late night watch on Netflix.
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