British character actor and one of the lead stars of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Dexter Fletcher turns his hand to directing in his debut feature Wild Bill. Uniting together a who’s who of British acting royalty it is the story of Wild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles), a father who returns home from prison to find his sons Dean (Will Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams) left to their own devices by their mother who has gone on an extended holiday to Spain. Initially struggling to reconnect with his boys, Wild Bill must ignore the temptation to fall back into his criminal ways, while pressure mounts from Terry (Leo Gregory) and his boss Glen (Andy Serkis) who want Bill to work for them.
Low budget British independent films tend to fall into distinct categories, and Wild Bill could be classified as a ˜cockneys on coke’ style comedy drama similar to Lock, Stock, Green Street or anything starring Danny Dyer. But to pigeonhole the film in such a way would be doing it a disservice. Anchored by a stunning turn by Creed-Miles as the eponymous Wild Bill and starring a supporting cast of some of the finest British actors working currently, including Jason Flemyng, Marc Warren and Will Poulter, Wild Bill is an affective drama as much as it is a comedy.
The central relationship between Bill and his boys is powerful stuff, especially in later scenes as they are really put to the test, while the villains are equal parts terrifying thugs and out-of-their-depth man-children. Wild Bill does occasionally tread into over-familiar territory with the clichÃ©d prostitute with a heart of gold character and the done to death kids as drug dealers motifs that are rife whenever a script needs to hammer home just how bad the ˜bad guys’ are.
Still an assured hand, some outstanding performances from Creed-Miles and Poulter and a genuinely touching finale help separate Wild Bill from the pack. Dexter Fletcher it seems has a very bright future ahead in direction, let’s just hope that his next foray allows him to really test himself rather than staying within the confines of a genre he knows inside out.