You would be forgiven for thinking Wild Bill is a cowboy film set in the wild west but no, this feel good piece of British film making is set in the even wilder it seems East of London; Stratford to be precise. Written by Dexter Fletcher and Danny King, Wild Bill en-captures the regeneration of a forgotten town and a splintered family in desperate need of being glued back together like the buildings that surround them so obviously neglected through the years.
Wild Bill is notorious in these parts and is released from prison after 8 years only to find his two sons have been abandoned by their mother who has gone off with some bloke called Geoff. Dean played by Will Poulter is turning 16, bread-winner and surrogate father to his younger brother Jimmy played by Sammy Williams. Dean isn’t exactly jumping for joy when his old man turns up on his heavily guarded doorstep but with the threat of child services looming he has no choice but to give him the sofa.
Jimmy becomes a runner for the local drug dealers and Wild Bill has a choice to make; step in like a good dad should and go back to prison or turn a blind eye letting history repeat itself? Like father like son. This film, as I view it, is about building relationships that have crumbled and doing the right thing knowing that the other option would mean destruction. It also gives us a mix of established actors such as Marc Warren, Andy Serkis, Jason Flemyng and Sean Pertwee whose subtle roles give the new acting talent their time on-screen.
Wild Bill is tinged with sadness and abandonment and whilst Stratford is being re-built and revived so is this family. There are some hilarious moments too; laughter and lots of it being an essential component when you breathe the London air and choose to watch the brilliant films that show the gloomy parts of city and family life.