Wheeler [2017] is Ryan Ross’s first feature film. He is a writer, producer, actor, and director. Wheeler stars Stephen Dorff, as well as featuring a cameo from music legend Kris Kristofferson. The film revolves around Wheeler (Dorff) an aspiring musician who journeys to Nashville and attempts to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a country music legend.

Stephen Dorff completely embodies the role of the title character, donning prosthetic makeup to truly immerse himself into the would-be country musician. He stays true to the character for the entirety of the film and delivers an honest and believable portrayal. Some of the more interesting moments are when Dorff interacts with ordinary people whilst in character. Furthermore, Dorff performs the musical scenes in the film that is a testament to his talent.

Nashville is a central component of the film. It is a mecca for the central character and thus serves as a spiritual home for his desire to be a country music legend. The film portrays the city in an earnest and romantic light, paying the ideal amount of respect for a place that has given birth to legends such as Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.

A Documentary Style was utilized in the film, which was for the best as it certainly reinforces the plot. It incorporates talking heads which further adds to the authentic and believability of the character and story. It has a style reminiscent of music documentaries based on real individuals such as Searching for Sugar Man and A Band Called Death, however it doesn’t reach the quality of these films.


An interesting execution of an idea not wholly original.

2.5Overall Score
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