A mixture of urban grit, humor, and emotional turbulence while maintaining a sense of authenticity throughout, director Dexter Fletcher delivers a prominent, charming British drama. Thanks to a deeply heartfelt script--a cast that boasts a wealth of British acting talent (including Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter, Andy Serkis, and Jaime Winstone), "Wild Bill" successfully adds a fresh approach and perspective to the heavily saturated genre of broken families and urban decay. Fletcher's debut is outstanding to say the least, and Charlie Creed-Miles performance as Bill is a knockout. Bill, whose hasty journey to redemption could so easily have seemed abhorrently contrived, yet strangely feels incredibly organic and totally believable. The enjoyment of "Wild Bill" is derived from its incredibly nuanced and engaging performances.
Charlie Creed-Miles gets top billing here as "Wild Bill," the former drug-dealing tough guy who has spent the past 8 years under lock and key. Returning home on parole to find his two sons abandoned by their mother, Bill is blackmailed by his eldest, embittered son Dean into sticking around until the threat of being placed into social services has passed. As Bill begins to bond with his younger son Jimmy (Sammy Williams), local drug dealer "T" (Leo Gregory,) digs his claws into both father and son. Many societal issues are addressed in Wild Bill: neglected children, alcoholism, prostitution, teen pregnancy, drug dealing, and the impact of role models on today's youth (or the lack thereof). Yet the film manages to remain far lighter than its weighty material. Thanks in part to the sharp writing by Fletcher and co-writer Danny King; Wild Bill manages to be funny without sacrificing the emotional power that drives the narrative.
Comparing Ben Drew's "Ill Manors," (2012) to Fletcher's "Wild Bill," while both are well-made British dramas, "Bill" possesses an uplifting spirit with vitality and charm-- while "Manors" leaves you reflecting on the unrelenting misery. "Wild Bill" is one of those rare films that possesses energy and vibrancy that manages to keep you rooting for its characters from start to finish. Fletcher's debut will not be an instant hit that propels his name into the spotlight--or recognized by the general public, yet he should be commended for creating a genuinely delightful piece of British social realism laced with charisma and wit. "Wild Bill" is a terrific example of the kind of cutting-edge British cinema that demonstrates big budgets are not necessary in regards to great filmmaking. For audiences, "Wild Bill" is a surprisingly entertaining and well-told story that is far more relevant than most would want to believe.