Film Review: Wild Bill

Wild Bill is a competent British drama, which boasts good performances and writing.

After a lengthy spell in prison, Bill returns home to find his two sons have been abandoned by their mother. Fifteen-year-old Dean wants nothing to do with their father, while younger brother Jimmy cannot remember him. When social worker Helen starts investigating the family’s living arrangements, Bill insists he will be looking after his sons, much to the displeasure of Dean…

Wild Bill stands out from many other British films of the same ilk because it appears more realistic. The film centres on a domestic drama; crime elements are secondary to this. Dexter Fletcher’s directorial debut is gritty without being overly violent or bleak. The film has a preoccupation with consequences. It is not a matter of violence for the sake of it.

Characters in the film appear realistic, for the most part. Wild Bill features a caricature-esque villain, but the main characters seem more authentic. The screenplay works well; the relationship between father and sons appears to develop naturally. The ending of the film is suitably bittersweet. It is not fairy tale, but neither is it grim.

Wild Bill uses music effectively, and features some good camera work. Charlie Creed-Miles is well cast as Bill. Will Poulter delivers an authentic performance as Dean, while Liz White brings warmth to the character of Roxy.

Wild Bill is a decent film, sufficiently entertaining and difficult to really fault.

Wild Bill is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.