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Scarlett Alice Johnson,
Out on parole after 8 years inside, Bill Hayward returns home to find his now 11- and 15-year-old sons abandoned by their mother and fending for themselves. Unwilling to play Dad, an uncaring Bill is determined to move on. Although Dean the older boy has found a job and is doing his best to be a father to his younger brother Jimmy, the arrival of Bill brings them to the attention of social services. With the danger of being put into care looming, Dean forces his feckless dad to stay by threatening to grass him up for dealing. If there's one thing Bill doesn't want it's to go back to prison. He reluctantly agrees to stay for a week to help fool social services that the boys are being cared for. Having never really grown up himself, Bill quickly connects with Jimmy and, through this new bond, starts to realize what he's been missing. He has a family, a place in the world. He is a father. However, their happy family set-up is short lived when Jimmy gets into trouble with Bill's dangerous...Written by
Wild Bill is directed by Dexter Fletcher who also co-writes the screenplay with Danny King. It stars Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter, Liz White, Sammy Williams, Charlotte Spencer, Leo Gregory, Neil Maskell and Iwan Rheon. Music is by Christian Henson and cinematography by George Richmond.
Wild Bill Hayward (Creed-Miles) is just out of prison after serving eight years. Heading home he finds his two sons Dean (Poulter) and Jimmy (Williams) fending for themselves after their mother abandoned them. Bill hadn't planned on hanging around, but if he doesn't then the boys will be taken into care. More pressing is that the local drug runners have got young Jimmy working for them, Bill might just have to take his parental responsibilities to another level and justify his Wild reputation.
Splendid piece of British grit and wit, Wild Bill follows in the traditions of films directed by British actors, who for their debut directing assignment impressed with the ability to grab the attention and no loosen the grip. Fletcher has done a bang up job here, managing to turn what could have been a standard dysfunctional family melodrama into something more meaningful, engaging and suspenseful.
Story is set to the backdrop of working class London, where the building of the Olympic stadium serves as a beacon of hope in the distance, while our principal characters struggle through a world of grimy flats, empty pubs, dirty cafés and drug infested council estates.
The narrative operates on two fronts, Bill (Miles superb) is trying to keep on the straight and narrow, as he candidly observes, if his dog craps on the pavement he will get 18 months back in prison! But as he tries to build a relationship with his two sons, especially the older and more colder Dean, circumstances are drawing him back into the violent world he desperately wants to leave behind. It's this angle that gives the film its suspense, as viewers we are wondering if Bill can achieve his goals, will he get a break, will the family become one unit?
Elsewhere the film operates as a coming of age story, where Dean has had to grow up real fast to look after his younger brother, even taking on employment at the age of 15 to provide for Jimmy and himself. Then there is matters of the heart, as he is strongly attracted to local girl Steph (Spencer), this aspect is very well handled by Fletcher, who gets the excellent Poulter to deftly portray those early nerves when Cupid starts to draw back its bow, the tentative fumblings of young love easily identifiable to us all.
Pic is full of familiar British faces, most of them just stopping by in cameos to lend friendly support to Fletcher's project. They all offer a reassuring presence to proceedings, adding further weight to what is damn fine debut picture. Sometimes violent, often heart warming and tender, and very laugh out loud funny, Wild Bill is a winner. 9/10
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