“Wheeler” is a faux documentary about Stephen Dorff playing a recently departed country singer. While the feel of the documentary is real, there’s something to be said about these kinds of affairs. It’s odd playing non jokey about an artist that never existed. Dorff gets the act down right, but the songs feel like filler music from a soap opera or low budget drama. The supporting cast tries to make the world work, but the central conceit is rather thin.
That’s the problem I find with more star powered driven indie films. They can nail certain parts of an aesthetic, but nothing about the world feels real. I don’t get why Wheeler would be a giant country artist with young and old fans. At best, he’s a bar circuit player that acquires a faithful fanbase between Nashville and Murfreesboro. I don’t fault the filmmakers for this, as to create a true sense of authenticity…you practically have to make three movies in one.
You have to explain motivation, show a rise and establish a legacy. If you’ve got Robert Wise as an editor, it’ll be easier to pull it off. “Wheeler” put forth a noble effort, but whiffs a lot of the finer points. Still, I’d recommend watching it once.
- 1 hr and 40 mins
- Not Rated
RELEASE DATE: 2/3/17
- Film Score - 87%87%
The Plot Thus Far
WHEELER is the story of an aspiring musician from Kaufman, Texas who travels to Nashville with the lifelong dream of trying his hand at country music.