Fletcher = Ritchie Meets Meadows
Having been released after doing an eight year sentence "Wild" Bill Hayward (Charlie Creed-Miles) is out on parole and returning home. At home he finds his sons Dean (Will Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams) who have long been abandoned by their mother with the teenage Dean having taken to being father to his little brother and money earner in order to keep social services away. Wanting to start a new Bill doesn't want anything to do with his children or his past but his release on parole brings the social services back to the flat and in order to stop the children ending up in care Bill agrees to hang around. It makes Bill realise what he has been missing out on but leads to trouble when young Jimmy gets involved with some of Bill's old drug dealing buddies forcing Bill to make a decision.
I love sitting down to a movie and not knowing what to expect, it is a rare occurrence when you watch as many movies as I do and to find one which you can't be sure on is a treat. That was the case with "Wild Bill" Dexter Fletcher's rather impressive directional debut because whilst you could say this story which takes us in to the rough side of the East End is familiar territory for Fletcher he shows a different style to what you might expect, allowing the story, characters and look in that order do the work.
Now the story is incredibly simple but also remarkably logical; on one hand we have Dean who to prevent him and his brother ending up in care has turned protector, bread winner and care giver to his younger brother and is getting by but more importantly keeping social services away. And then on the other hand we have Bill who just wants to go straight and escape the nightmare of his past. Things conspire that Bill's return alerts social services and forces him to be a dad for a while and actually loving it. But this evolves into a drama which forces Bill to look deep inside himself as to what he really wants. It is simple but logical and makes you smile for being so simple yet so complete at the same time as characters, scenes and elements all interlink and feed off of each other.
The characters, well here we have the actors and characters you would see in a Guy Ritchie gangster movie but not playing things so over the top for laughs. When Bill is released from prison and he is wearing a dirty old shell suit you wait for the comedy character but it never appears in the way you expect. When Jason Flemyng shows up in a small role as a social worker he looks like he could have been starring in some thing like "Casualty" or the "Bill" for years. It is all familiar and so well acted by everyone from an attention grabbing performance from Will Poulter to a more soul searching performance from Charlie Creed-Miles.
That brings me to the look and considering the sort of movies Dexter Fletcher has spent his life appearing in you might have expected "Wild Bill" to be more humorous and violent so it is credit to him that it isn't. In fact it is a rather impressive directional debut which is aided by a fantastic cast of British actors with yet another familiar actor popping up in roles deep in to the movie such as when a policeman in uniform walks into a cafe and you realise it is Sean Pertwee. In a way Fletcher's directional style reminds me of a blend of Guy Ritchie with Shane Meadows but also with a more artistic flair especially during the early scenes and it works.
What this all boils down to is that "Wild Bill" is an impressive movie which draws you in quickly but keeps you involved through the story, the acting and Fletcher's directional style which is one of the most impressive aspects of the movie.