The word on upon its cinema release Wild Bill was very positive, and reviews were certainly of fairly enthusiastic nature. So Dexter Fletcher’s directorial debut is a welcome release on DVD and Blu Ray.
Fletcher has had a very long career in both film and TV, starting off in Bugsy Malone in 1978, and so he’s brought this wealth of experience to his first feature, both as writer and director. The movie is set in the London Borough of Newham, against the backdrop of the Olympic site. Whilst magnificent structures loom in the background, we concentrate on the characters involved in the shady goings on on an estate.
Wild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles) is an ex con, on release after eight years inside. He comes home to his fractured family, finding out that the wife has done a runner on him and left his two children home alone. Will Poulter (Son Of Rambow, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader) play the 15-year-old son, who has been looking after his younger sibling by working and avoiding the social services. The film then concentrates on the building and healing of relationships between the family members, and also deals with Wild Bill’s inevitable unwelcome return back to his manor, now run by his old mates Terry (Leo Gregory) and Glen (Andy Serkis), who is head boss.
British Gangster films have been ten-a-penny over the last 20 years, some setting the benchmark high, some best forgotten, but it is a genre the British are good at, even if we often rely on it too much. Yes, there are very familiar actors here such as Jason Flemying and Andy Serkis and Sean Pertwee, all playing very familiar characters. The only one missing is the Daddy – Ray Winstone – but we have his daughter Jaime instead (Dexter probably has them all on speed dial) but we also have a plethora of refreshing young talent including Neil Maskell (The Kill List), Iwan Rheon (The Misfits) and Liz White playing the romantic interest.
Whilst the supporting cast excel in their roles, the central performance by Charlie Creed-Miles is what holds the film together. We can see the tension and intensity in his acting, as the once hard man who’s trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and heal the rifts with his children. We can see that prison has affected Bill, and that he does not want to go back. Tormented now being Mild Bill, we know there will be an explosive climax where he is forced to revert back to his old ways to defend his family.
The most poignant and touching scenes in the film is the tender paper aeroplane sequence where Bill starts bonding with his youngest, as well as the happy family reunion take out meal scene. The second is very delicately handled, as we know it will juxtapose the carnage following it. Not a groundbreaking film, but an enjoyable British gangster movie with a heart.
Overall Verdict: If you can’t make it to the Olympics this year, watch this film instead, and see what’s really happening on our streets.
Special Features: The Making of Wild Bill, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Favourite Films, Theatrical Trailer
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater