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Wild Bill (2011)

 -  Drama  -  23 March 2012 (UK)
7.2
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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... See full summary »

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Title: Wild Bill (2011)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Wild Bill
...
Sammy Williams ...
Jimmy
...
Pill
...
Steph
Rain Ryan ...
Baby George
...
Adam
Peter McCabe ...
Roland
...
Viktoras
...
Jonas (as Rad Kaim)
Aaron Ishmael ...
Boz
...
Roxy
Hardeep Singh Kohli ...
Raj
...
Dickie
...
Terry
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Storyline

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 has brought 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 o 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 Anonymous

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23 March 2012 (UK)  »

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Trivia

Directorial debut of Dexter Fletcher. See more »

Connections

Featured in Projector: Wild Bill (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Only Sell Crack
Performed by Jackademus
Written by Jack Fletcher
Publishing Copyright Control
Master Recording Courtesy of Jackademus
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A great British gem and wonderful directorial debut
24 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It's a rare occurrence for me to see a film that I know very little about and with the mass marketing of most movies nowadays it's quite a difficult thing to achieve. However, in the case of Wild Bill the only thing I knew was that the film marks Dexter Fletcher's directorial debut.

The film centres around the eponymous Bill who we meet upon his release from prison on The Isle of Wight following an eight year stretch for various transgressions in his early life. Bill returns to his home in East London to find that his two young sons have been abandoned by their mother and are now trying to cope on their own whilst avoiding the gaze of social services. The eldest son has taken on the paternal role and is reluctant to relinquish this upon his fathers return but this reluctance pales in comparison to Bill's own lack of interest in raising his sons. There are the expected gangster side stories (it is East London after all) but the heart of the movie is concerned with Bill re-establishing the relationships with his boys and attempting to go straight.

The fact that I can report that Wild Bill is an excellent little film provides me with much joy. The above synopsis might make it sound like a Mike Leigh kitchen sink drama but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a genuinely funny film and Fletcher takes a lot of time to fashion characters that the audience can sympathise with and relate to. The gangsters are slightly two dimensional but this doesn't detract from the warm and rewarding tale of a man finally growing up and embracing his responsibilities.

Dexter Fletcher shows that his near 30 years as an actor have taught him many things about the art of directing and he takes to this role with great aplomb. A particular high point in the film, from a directorial point of view, comes when Bill is teaching his youngest son to throw paper airplanes from their high rise flat. The camera follows one of these planes as is loops and circles to the ground in a beautiful continuous shot that marks a significant turning point in the protagonists journey.

The cast are well employed here and Charlie Creed-Miles (Bill) does a wonderful job of holding the piece together and transforming the character from a good for nothing ex con into a caring father, willing to do anything for his sons. Special mention should go to Will Poulter who plays Bill's eldest son (Dean). This young man has a very bright future ahead and the maturity of his performance is incredibly touching. Those who remember Poulter from his earlier movie 'Son of Rambow' will not be surprised to see that this teenage actor is developing into a fine young talent indeed. The rest of the cast reads like a who's who of journeymen British actors and it would not surprise me to learn that many of the performers who have short cameos aren't simply doing this for their old mate Dexter.

There are comparisons to be made between the story here and that of many an old fashioned western but the point isn't laboured. A scene towards the end of the film actually put me in mind of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven in a rather odd way (look for the pub fight) and this only increased my affection for this wonderful film.

The East End backdrop is dominated by the recent additions of the Olympic Stadia and Dean actually has a job working on the construction site of the velodrome. The renewal of the area is an obvious metaphor for Bill's transformation from old east end villain to new, loving family man. I cannot imagine, however, that LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) intend to use this film as an enticement for tourists as it still shows a gritty underbelly to the area that no number of sporting developments can hope to erase.

Wild Bill will garner a lot of praise and hopefully ensure that Dexter Fletcher's voice as a writer and director is encouraged and used to make further such homegrown gems. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he makes next.


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