“ Genre: Comedy / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Dexter Fletcher / Actors: Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter, Leo Gregory, Jason Flemyng ... / DVD released 2012-07-23 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Genre - Crime
Country - British
Certificate - 15
Run Time - 98 minutes
Purchase - Amazon - £11.40p
Rental - Blockbusters - £3.50p per night
So what do you get when you cross cult Brit crime flicks like Layer Cake, Dead Men's Shoes and The Business? The answer is Wild Bill, a rather excellent little gangster flick that should have been shouted from the rooftops on just how fresh and vibrant it is, a gentle twist of father-son role reversal giving it something stand out of the norm in the genre. We rightfully thought Brit gangster flicks had passed their sell by date after Guy Ritchie got all pretentious with Revolver and then RocknRolla, but debut director Dexter Fletcher, who appeared in Lock Stock and Layer Cake, really pulling it back here with this one, a must rent for the lads and lasses who like this sort of movie. The days of the lottery funded gangster sludge of Rancid Aluminum and Sadie Frost are long since wiped from our memories after this cracker, thankfully.
Dexter describes his work as an 'urban western', the whole film leading up to the showdown at the OK Coral, or in this case 'The Dog and Feathers' in Hackney. The unknown main protagonists in the cast and direction style from Fletcher really gives this film some stand out charisma and I am surprised this didn't get more support from our film industry and, as yet, appears relatively unseen so far by film fans and so I hope everyone of you go see it.
= = = Cast = = =
* Charlie Creed-Miles as Wild Bill
* Will Poulter as Dean
* Sammy Williams as Jimmy
* Iwan Rheon as Pill
* Charlotte Spencer as Steph
* Rad Kaim as Jonas
* Liz White as Roxy
* Hardeep Singh Kohli as Raj
* Neil Maskell as Dickie
* Leo Gregory as Terry
* Mark Monero as Freddy
* Olivia Williams as Kelly
* Jaime Winstone as Helen
* Andy Serkis as Glen
* Sean Pertwee as Jack
* Billy Holland as Mini Hoodie
* Dexter Fletcher as Mysterious Barry
= = = The Plot = = =
Thirty something bad boy Bill Hayward (Charlie Creed-Miles) is out on bail after doing eight years for all manner of violent misdemeanors, known as 'Wild Bill' on his old Newham stamping ground, where he heads back to see his wife and kids, determined to go straight. But the first people he meets are the crowd he used to run with, headed by local drug dealer Terry (Leo Gregory) and right hand man Dickie (Neil Maskell), trouble...
After a good drink down his old haunts and a treat in the shape of prostitute 'Roxy' (Liz White) for his loyalty they dump him drunk back at his old flat, where he wakes up to his two boys, 15-year-old Dean (Will Poulter) and little 11-year-old Jimmy (Sammy Williams). But mum has long since legged it and Dean has been bringing up his little brother on his own for nearly a year now, very much the man of the house, working on the nearby Olympic site for cash in hand by skipping school.
Awkward introductions out of the way its clear he is not welcome back by Dean, Bill looking to shoot up north to work on the rigs anyway after politely turning down Terry's offer of some gear to sell, Bill feeling disconnected and distanced from is old life, not particularly welcome back by 'Big Glen' (Andy Serkis) either, the local crime lord, announcing at a sit down that this town aint big enough for the two of them, the man Wild Bill did time for.
After letting it slip to his parole officer (Jaime Winstone) that the kids have been alone in the flat, Bill must now decide how much they mean to him and do they need a father around, Kelly (Olivia Williams), a social worker, ready to put the boys in care if he chooses to go. But when little Jimmy gets involved in drugs with Terry's gang as a runner, Bills mind is made up to make things right for the boys for not being there, before the end up like him, stirring the Wild in Bill once again as he faces down Big Glen at noon.
= = = The Result = = =
A rare 100% critic's approval rating by the film site Rottentomasos.Com is all you need know how popular this début feature has proved. You will really enjoyed this, a solid and enjoyable black crime caper with an eye catching enigmatic lead performance by the blue-eyed Charlie Creed-Miles the clincher, and that nice role reversal plot mechanism up against the striking looking young Will Poulter an added enjoyable twist, a young actor to keep an eye on.
It's excellently written with sharp and witty dialogue and the bigger stars who secured the films funding by their presence unselfishly let the lesser names have the screen to deliver a different feel to the genre. There are none of those perfunctory jumpy and over complicated flashback sequences to make it look too cool for school and disguise the plot holes (or create them) here and the flow nice and linear.
There's a refreshing lack of Cockney speak and slang echoing amongst the concrete tower block canyons where the cowboys ride and a funky soundtrack that smoothes you through nicely, and not one point did I want to still pause and put the kettle on because of the beautiful rhythms of this movie. It's a very white Hackney, though, and like Michael Caine's 'Harry Brown', reticent to have a more realistic ethnic slant to the boroughs real problems, these 'Attack the Block' streets after all, drug dealers very much ethnic in East London now, all London gangster movies steering clear of that racial imbalance and still churning out those shell-suited geezers to play safe. But it's a cracking little film for its few faults and budget and one for your must see list for 2012.
= = = Extras = = =
Straight forward behind the scenes banter and meet the cast stuff.
The cast give their list of fav films to the camera to chunky the DVD out more.
Imdb.com - 7.1/10 (3,603 votes)
Metacritc.com - 92% 100% critics approval rating.
Rottentomatos.com - 100% critics approval rating!
The Guardian -' An unusually affecting movie, with pitch-perfect comic moments, a lot of heart, and a beautiful final shot that acts as a crowning achievement for Creed-Miles'
CNN -'It wears its lion heart firmly on its sleeve with bouts of good humour and sense, making it impossible not to be drawn into its rugged charm'.
Financial times -'Fletcher has fashioned a deft, likeable addition to a crowded genre, the cockney comedy thriller. It will be good to see how he fares when he moves on'.
Total Film -'Full of quirky, absorbing characters and performances, Fletcher's debut is a hugely enjoyable East End western and a lesson on how to avoid the excesses of the Brit-crime-com'.