3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A British Crime Saga That Combines Dark Humor And Urban Violence With Unexpected Heart,
This review is from: Wild Bill [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have seen so many small serio-comic romps set in Britain's criminal element, I rarely expect to be surprised anymore. This is territory that filmmakers such as Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn have turned into a mini-genre all its own. To all appearances, Dexter Fletcher's "Wild Bill" seems to tick all of the anticipated boxes: huge cast of familiar faces, quirky criminals, burst of explicit violence, dark humor, family and workplace dysfunction, an enigmatic underworld boss, and lots and lots of drugs. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy these movies! When done well, they are a load of twisty and twisted fun. I just think that they've developed a formula that I've come to expect and, therefore, can lack a certain originality. "Wild Bill," however, did surprise me. While not exactly revelatory in plot, the movie demonstrates a real heart and that makes the experience stand out. The relationships at the center of "Wild Bill" are well orchestrated and I really cared about the outcome. Nothing is forced, the emotional resonance is real. I didn't even realize how much I was invested until the film's final moments. With just a couple of words, the last scene made me understand that this little picture had gotten under my skin and really affected me!
As we meet Wild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles), he is coming out of prison on parole after doing an eight year stint. Returning to the family he left behind, he discovers that his two sons have been abandoned by their mother and are living life on their own. Bill is no dad, though, he just wants to move on with his life. But the real world starts to trap him. Between old friends, family services, and parole officers, his plan to get out of town quickly evaporates due to conflicting responsibilities. And his efforts to maintain the appropriately reformed appearance cause him to reevaluate the only life he has ever known. Maybe it's not too late for Bill to begin anew. Of course, in the midst of the family drama, the criminal element that surrounds Bill is never far away. As his son becomes too close to his old friends, Bill may just be drawn back into his former existence.
There is plenty of humor in "Wild Bill," as well as violence, but also a lot of emotion. The cast includes many well known names such as Andy Serkis, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Marc Warren, and Iwan Rheon. In many ways, though, the movie belongs to Creed-Miles and Will Poulter as his eldest son. Creed-Miles has an understated approach that serves the picture well, and Poulter is tough and believable. I also liked Leo Gregory as the principle bad guy. Writer/director Fletcher has been an actor for a very long time (I still associate him with Hotel Babylon) and he's pulled the most out of his cast. Sure, there are still some gangster cliches in "Wild Bill." For that reason, my head tells me to rate this movie at four stars. My heart, however, was completely won over so I've boosted it to my most enthusiastic recommendation. Funny, heartfelt, and exciting, "Wild Bill" fully succeeds as a great surprise! And watch out for Poulter, the kid is going to be a star! KGHarris, 7/13.