Wild Bill

22 Sep


Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writers: Danny King, Dexter Fletcher

Stars: Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter and Sammy Williams

Motion Picture Rating: 15

Runtime: 98 minutes



Legacy was the buzzword of the 2012 London Olympics that mainly took place in the east end borough of Newham. That word and the vision were crucial to winning the bid and understandably so as Newham is a poor borough dotted with council estates and limited youth opportunities. Now Wild Bill is not a polemic about the games, legacy, and / or inner-city hardships, but it is set in Newham in 2010 and under the shadow of the rising Olympic stadium. As such it is hard to miss the potential local impact that the games could have. Wild Bill is a heart-warming family drama, but like many families in Newham today life is not easy and too frequently affected by crime.

Wild Bill is Bill Hayward, a paroled convict out after serving 8 years for various drug related activities and back in the east end of London. He returns to his tower block flat to find his sons, Dean aged 15 and Jimmy aged 11, living on their own after their mum skipped out 9 months back. The boys are getting by, but it’s tough. Kids without parents can get by, but they are not adults. Bill, bargaining with the extremely mature Dean, agrees to stick around to stop child services putting the boys into care. He tries to build bridges to Dean and Jimmy, but does not know them. His presence puts them off their stride and also stirs up animosities with the local villains that have continued to deal drugs in and around the estate.

The themes of Wild Bill are serious, and very well managed, but it is an uplifting film. Bill’s journey from selfish, ignorant and wasteful to straight and proud dad of two genuinely warms the heart. And there is a lot humour along the way. The script is good, the acting is excellent – especially Charlie Creed-Miles as Bill and Will Poulter as Dean – and it is entertaining stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this and kudos to first time director Dexter Fletcher for pulling it together. He is clearly a fan of westerns and we get the High Noon finale with Bill fronting up the local heavies to protect his family. That’s a fitting and hopeful ending and timely with the Olympics over and legacy work now at hand.

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