TV. The corny and excessive moments are an important part of Hill's cinema and will not be decisive for its unappreciation, but in this case, based in an accumulation of situations that defined a myth, the filmmaker worked with all the inherent clichés, especially the actors. The black-and-white opium dream sequences are so unspeakable that they shouldn't have been.
Bridges is good, one sees hints of his latter day old man grumble style, but the rest of the film is silly and strange. Post deadwood this film loses much of its guts and I don’t really know what Hill is going for here. I know it’s based on a play but still it’s completely whiffs On the real events and comes off as some lesser 1930s type of western biography. The black and white scenes are good tho.
Walter Hill's over-the-top gaudy style is always entertaining cinema, and particularly suited to classic tales of Old West heroes. An all-star cast, with notable performances from Ellen Barkin (who is pretty much always amazing), Jeff Bridges, Bruce Dern, and John Hurt (looking very much the same as he did in Heaven's Gate, only 15 years older.) Hurt's narration is competent, but weakens the action a bit. 3.7*
Wild Bill is an engaging but flawed Western by Walter Hill. It depicts the story of the titular Wild Bill Hickok & it takes on a elegy-like approach to the proceedings. It's shot spectacularly for a Western & utilizes what appears to be video for flashbacks & dream sequences in a novel touch by Hill. For a filmmaker famous for his economical writing, Hill's movie is strangely shapeless & has little energy. [cont.]
'Wild Bill' did not so well at the box office when theatrically released. In fact, almost nobody bought a ticket back then in 1995. Maybe, because the character Wild Bill Hickok isn't so likeable. Bill drinks, shoots a lot and plays poker and that's about all. Walter Hill's direction is good and Jeff Bridges is excellent. There's also a great scene in Cheyenne land in b&w dreamed by Bill on opium. Recommended.