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London Film Festival 2011 – Days 10-12

Wild Bill (Dexter Fletcher, 2011)

A 35-year on-screen veteran of film and TV, Dexter Fletcher makes his writing and directing debut with a warm, funny and tightly-plotted East End drama that adeptly mixes crime and family plot strands. Charlie Creed-Miles plays the Bill of the title (“More like Mild Bill,” as one wag obligatorily but unwisely observes at one point) – coming out of prison on licence after an eight-year stretch for a veritable portfolio of offences accrued while working as a low-level drug dealer, to find that his children, 15 year-old Dean (Will Poulter) and 11 year-old Jimmy (Sammy Williams), are fending for themselves after having being abandoned by their mother, who has run off to Spain with her new man, and don’t really want to know him. Soon, Bill finds himself besieged on all sides: his probation officer (Olivia Williams) and the police want him to steer clear of his old crew; the old crew want him to slot right back into his old life or get the fuck out of Dodge; social services (represented by Jaime Winstone and Jason Flemyng) want him to stick around and take responsibility for his kids. And there are further complications as Jimmy finds himself sucked into the life his father is trying to leave behind.

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