September 1, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Wild Bill'

Wild Bill (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Wild Bill is the directorial debut of one Dexter Fletcher. Now, you might not know his name, but he is the same fella that once proclaimed that guns were for show, and knives were indeed for a pro. That was back in 1998 when Guy Ritchie exploded on to the movie world with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Now it is Fletcher’s turn to try and make an impact with his foray into the world of directing.

I should make mention that Fletcher has been around for quite a while though, with his acting debut in 1976 (yes, that far back) and has since worked with the likes of David Lynch and Ken Russell, among many others. So, I am sure he has picked up a trick or two along the way, and if Wild Bill is anything to go by he has one hell of a directing career ahead of him.

On the surface you might be forgiven for thinking that Wild Bill is just another mockney gangster flick set in the East End of London. You would be wrong though, even though it is indeed set in the East End and does feature gangsters. What we have got here is a film about real characters, their relationships and the harsh reality of living in less than perfect conditions. Oh and there’s a wee bit of ass-kicking too.

Wild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles) has just been released from jail after serving an 8 year stretch. Where is the first place you would go? The pub of course. Anyway, after a brutal night’s drinking he is taken back to the flat where his two children live. They have been abandoned by their mother, and barely know Bill at all. Dean (Will Poulter) is the older of the two, at 15, and has taken it upon himself to quit school and get a job to support Jimmy, who is 11.

Bill isn’t so keen on being lumbered with two kids he hardly knows, even if they are his. But, he is a changed man and deep down wants to do the right thing. On the flipside of this, Jimmy is a bit of a troublemaker and, even though he takes to Bill far more openly than Dean , finds himself in trouble with some local drug dealers and wannabe gangsters.

This really is an incredibly charming movie, with a heart of gold. There are elements of the plot that we have seen a thousand times before, however, the script by Fletcher and Danny King is just wonderful. It’s funny, powerful and always compelling and drives the story along. The cast, in which there are many familiar faces in extended cameos, such as Jaime Winstone, Sean Pertwee, Andy Serkis and Jason Flemyng, all seem to revel in the story as well. The main cast, which includes a few fresh new faces as well as actors such as Neil Maskell and Liz White, all hit the right marks too.

The stars of the show though are without a doubt Creed-Miles and Poulter. Both get into their roles and deliver convincing performances. You genuinely feel for their respective positions, and even when the plot gets a little melodramatic they keep it convincing. On top of this, Wild Bill is bloody hilarious in places. Fletcher has managed to balance the comedy and the drama, almost to perfection, and even finds room for a good old fashioned fist fight.

The violence is always there, in the background, with the setting itself being of a bleak East End, but it rarely surfaces in the manner you might expect. Instead you have yourself an incredibly enjoyable family drama/comedy that will hold your attention from start to finish.

Keep your eyes out for future directorial efforts from Fletcher, as I have a feeling there is plenty more good stuff to come from him. Wild Bill was top notch entertainment, and I can’t wait to watch it again.

Wild Bill is available now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK through Universal Pictures UK.

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