Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) Film Review

After losing money in an illegal card game to a dodgy criminal, a group of young blokes have to try to get a shit ton of money in a hurry. There are crims of all kinds, there are drugs and heaps and heaps of blokes who are just a bit too clever.

This is such a perfect, 90s first feature type of film. Arty camera angles and special effects, great soundtrack, dialogue which is just a bit cleverer than it needs to be (along with a few massive pinches of ‘as if’). It was great back then… now? Well, it’s aged badly for me. What I loved then for being a bit sexy and cool is now cheesy and shit. And back then, I don’t think I cared if a cast was almost all white and male. Now… I just expect more. But what was really nice was a surprise appearance by Rob Brydon – that was nice! I’d love to see what someone seeing it for the first time would think – would it be clever and a bit sexy, or just a bit crap?

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels won the 1999 BAFTA Audience Choice award and was nominated for Best British Film and Best Editing.

Wild Bill (2011) MIFF, Film Review

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Since the days of Alfie, depressing reality has been a regular genre in British cinema, and often the offerings are a representation of a dull and horrible life interrupted by some shocking, over-the-top event that may or may not be resolved adequately by the end of the film.

There’s something different about Wild Bill, and I spent some time trying to figure out what it was. Essentially, I think the difference is heart. The film tells the story of ‘Wild’ Bill Hayward (Charlie Creed-Miles) as he is released from prison and returns home to find his ex-wife has abandoned his two children. The oldest, 15-year-old Dean(Will Poulter) is working and taking care of 11-year-old Pill (Sammy Williams), who is starting to get out of control.

The film is carried by Will Poulter, who portrays the anger and confusion of  an abandoned teenager with strength. It’s a serious story with some quite graphic violence, and yet there is also quite a surprising amount of humour.