Movie Description: “A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.”
This movie opens up inside a car and I already felt the need to buckle up. A man takes this car out of a garage and backs it up on the street introducing our main character as he appears waiting on the sidewalk in front of the car. I realized that it was a long continuous shot which I felt beautifully established the contained and gritty atmosphere. I was hooked in the film as I felt like I was inside the car with the driver as he was testing out his vehicle. He begins to accelerate and the thrill begins! The sound mixing was freaking fantastic. This main character already captivated me and we learn more about him in the narrative through a series of conflicts and phone calls.
Wheelman is similar to Phone Booth. The individuals calling him consists of antagonists and his family. These interactions are filled with intensity and humor due to the rage of the protagonist. The majority of the story takes place within the car which I thought was an awesome choice. I’m sure it’s almost impossible to create this sense of tension and keep it consistent throughout the entire movie, but it was perfectly done here. I knew this was an engaging story I cared about because I wanted the main character to overcome his obstacles.
Frank Grillo will prove to the world that he can carry a movie on his own! Wheelman rests on the shoulders of Frank Grillo because the camera is mostly on his face inside the car. He has the challenge of making us believe his character is going through all of this within a limited environment and there wasn’t one second where I didn’t believe him. It was so much fun to see his character accelerate his anger with the bad guys and then have to decelerate that tone when talking to his daughter over the phone.
Caitlin Carmichael played the daughter and she surprised me with how much vulnerability she brought to her character, so effortlessly! When she was first introduced, I could tell she was acting due to her dialogue, it just didn’t sound right to tell her father to “shut the f*** up,” that part of the relationship didn’t seem genuine. I completely believed their history when it came to her father telling her to drive just like he taught her on the tracks, that’s when her performance really shined.
To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.
Is Wheelman a nice film to look at….definitely! I didn’t think this movie blew me away with how it looked, but the use of the camera angles and shots outside of the car during the chase sequences were really cool. One of the stunts took my breath away and it takes impressive camera work to capture that feeling. The use of shadows and light was great!
The music wasn’t memorable and I didn’t think it was present enough to aid the story or style of the movie in any way, but it didn’t really have to. The sound of the film was enough.
The lessons I got from this film: Never do anything that doesn’t feel right, follow the light by making positive choices.
This will be coming to Netflix in two months so get ready for a fun thrill ride! Wheelman delivers on the story, action, performances, theme, and cinematography. I can’t wait to watch it again. Thanks for reading my review! My rating for this film is 9.5/10