The Daily Cup 7 of 365 Wheelman

Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.

Hollywood has a long history of car chase movies (Bullitt, The Italian Job, Smokey & The Bandit) often giving us the audience a chance to experience the thrill of running from the cops or from other dangers. If done well they are completely thrilling and fun. In a good car chase film the chases and action enhance and serve the story. You can also get a car chase film where the story is an afterthought and often paper thin, and the only thing that is interesting are the cars racing and smashing (yes I’m looking at you Hal Needham).

wheelman still.jpg

Wheelman (2017), the feature debut of writer/director Jeremy Rush blends a evening of driving chaos into a compelling and lean 82 minute story. And independent film funded in part by lead Frank Grillo is being distributed by Netflix in what I think is their best Netflix original film of the year. The film follows Grillo’s character (we never get his name and in the credits is just Wheelman) on an evening as a getaway driver for a bank heist. The job was arranged by his friend Clayton for the local organized crime syndicate.

Things go sideways during the robbery and the Wheelman is driving around feilding cell calls from a mysterious man who is trying to intercept the money from the robbery, and the mob contact who set the crime up. Both want the Wheelman to give him the money, and the Wheelman just wants to give the cash to the right person and do his job like a good blue collar criminal

To throw a wrench into all of this the Wheelman is calling in and checking on his thirteen year old daughter at home and trying to be a responsible parent as well. Even though it is just a man fielding phone calls while driving around, these sequences are intense and keep you interested, a testament to the lean script that does a ton of work with only one on screen character sitting in the car most of the time.

When we do get some car chases they are fantastic. The cinematography used is claustrophobic in the best way imaginable. The views are the same as a passenger or driver of one of the car's, blind spots and all. The whole film we are there in the car, with our protagonist, and we never leave the vehicle in our viewing. A couple of times the Wheelman leaves vehicle but our POV is always somewhere from the car. I loved this, you don’t see stories told like this very often, it’s refreshing and fun.

Frank Grillo gives a great performance and the handful of other actors who appear on screen also do a very good job, especially Caitlin Carmichael who plays the Wheelman’s daughter. She becomes an integral part of the story, and much different than you often think a young woman would be in an action crime film. This was a great movie and you should check it out on Netflix some night, it’s a fun ride.


Movies new to me watched: 7/292

Total movies watched: 7/365

Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at or on Twitter at @kbdekker.