Cast: Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter, Sammy Williams, Andy Serkis
If you are tired of formulaic British gangster movies, filled with all the obligatory clichés including dodgy Cockney accents, then Wild Bill will be a refreshing change. It combines gritty drama with loads of pathos and a few poignant laughs. Despite a fairly straightforward plot line, the main characters are depicted with sufficient complexity to pull you into their struggles.
After 8 years in jail, Bill returns to his council estate flat in London’s East End, to find his two sons (15 and 11 years old) abandoned by their mother. When social services threaten to put the boys into care, the eldest, Dean, forces a reluctant Bill to stay on and pretend that he is a committed father. Dean, who had to act as parent to his younger brother, sees his dad as a reprobate who’s only use is to help pull the wool over the social workers’ eyes. The fraught relationship between Bill and his sons is further complicated by the re-appearance of some unsavoury characters from Bill’s criminal past. As the pressure builds up from all directions Bill is forced to choose between his family and his old life.
The film does not try and clobber you over the head with special effects or gratuitous violence, but rather allows the emotional turmoil of a fragmented family to dominate the story. It gets its message, that a previously wasted life may be redeemed by self sacrifice, across in an affecting manner. For those who do like a bit of rough and tumble amid all the drama, do not miss probably the most realistic bar fight in recent film history.