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Film / Wheelman

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Wheelman is a 2017 Netflix original thriller/action film. Starring Frank Grillo as Wheelman, it follows him as he transports the money gained from a bank robbery to the safe destination, dealing with multiple people over the phone along the way.


Tropes:

  • Advice Backfire: The Wheelman demands that his daughter stays home, not leave the house, and sends her boyfriend home at 9 PM. 9 PM rolls around and the Wheelman realizes the Mob is coming after his family, so he tells her to have her boyfriend drive her somewhere. Oops; they both followed his advice to the letter and he left already, leaving her home alone exactly as he told them to.
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  • Anti-Hero: Wheelman is the main character, and the getaway driver for robberies.
  • Badass Driver: Wheelman himself, due to being an amateur racer who's teaching his daughter to race his Porsche.
  • Boom, Headshot!: While wrestling with a gun, Clay accidentally shoots himself in the head.
  • Closed Circle: The POV almost never leaves the Wheelman or a vehicle of his.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A lot of Wheelman's dialogue falls under this.
  • The Driver: Subverted. The Wheelman is the main character of the film despite just being "the driver".
  • Film Noir: The film takes place at night, and features a shady protagonist caught up in events he doesn't understand.
  • I Can See You: Wheelman gets several calls from someone suggesting they can see him at the time, despite him driving wildly all over town. There's a Tracking Device in the money he's been carrying the whole time.
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  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Wheelman realizes that Clay set him up when the latter lets slip the address of the drug deal, when he previously claimed that he didn't know it, and Wheelman never told him the address.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted. When Clay accidentally shoots himself in the head, he still manages to slur out some last words, and stumble out of the car.
  • MacGuffin: The money from the heist is what drives the plot.
  • Minimalism: The film has a very small cast, with the most people onscreen when Wheelman drags Clay out of the bar.
  • Mob War: Lampshaded. The Wheelman is worried that this is what he caused.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The Wheelman, the bank robbers, Clay, West End, and Philly all seem to have it in for each other, or at least have no reason to stay loyal.
  • No Name Given: We never learn Wheelman's real name. The characters known as Philly and West End are never named and almost never seen, despite driving the plot. Even the closed captioning refers to them by those aliases.
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  • Noodle Incident: The warehouse fire. The Wheelman spent three years in prison over it, but his exact involvement is never explained.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Subverted. Clay's accidental headshot is very graphic.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Clay. Wheelman was willing to give him enough money to disappear, after he learned Clay set him up. Clay responds by trying to kill him.
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