Is it just me, or is the UK releasing a good number of decent, small and (most of all) interesting films at the moment? This debut film features Charlie Creed-Miles as the eponymous Bill, a small-time drug dealer and thug who has just finished a prison sentence and returns to his grotty London flat to find that his partner has run off to Spain leaving their two children to fend for themselves. They’re not pleased to see him, particularly the elder, Dean (Will Poulter), a fifteen year old who has been working in the black economy as a builder to keep him and his younger brother Jimmy (Sammy Williams) out of care, but who is now on the social services map due to Bill’s appearance.
Bill, who was previously known as “Wild Bill” for his extreme violence, has been changed by his prison experience and is determined to go straight and keep out of trouble. Whilst his erstwhile companions want him to rejoin their crew and give him some drugs and ply him with drink, depositing him unconscious with Dean and Jimmy, the police are going to put him back inside if he associates with them. Bill is caught in a dilemma, which he intends resolving by going to Scotland to work the oil rigs – but is blackmailed into staying and playing “happy families” until the social services are diverted away from Dean and Jimmy.
Bill’s old friend Terry, who now leads the local dealers, is not happy that Bill is going straight and takes the opportunity of recruiting young Jimmy into dealing. A “Clint Eastwood” style showdown is obviously coming but, since even Clint doesn’t always make it to the end of his films these days, it’s far from clear that Bill will win.
There is a lovely transformation throughout the film, as reluctant father and sons come to care for one another, not in a saccharine way, but in a manner fairly believable and I was entertained and engaged throughout. Nice little film.