DVD The Wee Man

DVD The Wee Man
DVD The Wee Man
Run time: 106 min
Rating: 5.8
Genres: Drama
Director: Ray Burdis
Writers: Ray Burdis
Stars: Bhrina Bache, Patrick Bergin, Hannah Blamires
The true-life story of Paul Ferris.
Plot Keywords: friendship, retrospective, betrayal, father son relationship, gangster
Country: UK
Release Date: 18 January 2013 (UK)


  1. Went to see this in the cinema and thought it would be hard hitting and exciting. Had high expectations but was really let down. Firstly, all the woman cast members were terrible. Acting left a lot to be desired and were wooden and frankly annoying. Stand out performance was from the actor who played Arthur Jr (Fat Boy.) Being from Glasgow- the accents were ridiculous- if you come from the South Side of Glasgow you don't talk like you are from Edinburgh. Some of the more violent scenes were quite good. The most annoying thing about this film was the portrayal of Paul Ferris. He was not a hero, he did not stab and scalp people because he was bullied as a child. He was a criminal and a thug. Its as if someone has listened to Paul Ferris' side of the story and not listened to anyone else. The film was mince. Would give this a miss if you are interested in the Glasgow Gangster scene as it does not ring true to what really happened.

  2. The police in Scotland maintain that Ferris remains involved in serious, organized crime. This is overlooked by the luvvy pals who swallow and peddle his "reformed" gangster patter. Why anyone is interested in this odd little self-publicist bamboozles most right-thinking Glaswegians. Any comparisons to US mafia movies is misguided as this flick stemmed from a work of literary fiction. The blatant and often contradictory lies therein serve to promote his many myths while demonising his equally repugnant rivals. The Advertising Standards Authority ought to do something about the movie poster's "true life and crimes" claim. Putting these moral reasons to one side, the film is utter mince. It would be very interesting to know the actual budget of this "low budget" effort. I would also quibble with the reviews which single out Martin Compston as a sole, redeeming feature. SPOILER – the film Ferris avenging Arthur Thompson's mother-in-law's murder. This took place in 1966 … when Ferris was aged 3!

  3. "What must be appreciated is that war among civilians,such as I am describing, is ever so much more ambiguous and enigmatic than a war between nations". Joe Bonanno.

    No pop-corn was crunched, by a decent-sized Glaswegian audience, as they intently watched this film.

    Fact. There was another boy who grew up in Blackhill. He avoided drink and got into politics, becoming a local councillor, then council leader, then elected to the Scottish Parliament and held ministerial office. Not all people from Blackhill are the same. Not all Glaswegians are the same.

    Male lead plays a boy who grew up in the Blackhill area of Glasgow. The area was a scheme (peripheral estate), which was well known for its criminality and violence. The fear of violence that pervaded this, and similar areas of Glasgow, is shown well in early parts of the film, and throughout it.

    The boy is shown trapped in this violent environment, and as he grows up, he has to try to cope with this reality. This film is based on the autobiography of his life. A generation ago, there was a film entitled 'A Sense of Freedom', and this film is of the same genre. The main events in this film occurred about two decades ago in Glasgow. It is amazing that it has taken so long to make a film of those events, as there was always a decent gangster film to be made on the subject. Organized crime in Glasgow is not highly structured, it is based around blood-families and this is shown well in the film. Casual violence is also associated with territorially-based street-gangs.

    Lead male acts well, as does the rest of the cast. Main gang-leaders are played well and convince in their roles of gang-leaders oozing cunning and inspiring fear. Their names were well known to Glaswegians, this reviewer has been in company where a certain name has hardly dared to be whispered.

    The main events in the film will be familiar to many Glaswegians. It has been too long since this reviewer read the autobiography, or any thing else on the subject, to see how closely the film sticks to this. However, broadly, film sticks to events that are well known; legally, in at least one version of events, or just as mere street gossip.

    The film tries to give explanations, which causes the film to jump about a bit chronologically. Real events are shown, but sometimes the chronology is changed. Other real events are added to, for legal or artistic reasons, and they will be easily spotted by Glaswegians. Most of the main events will be familiar to Glaswegians. Outsiders would be surprised how truthful some things were, sometimes just very little details.

    The film was not made with a lot of money and this sometimes shows in some stage-sets. There was very little location shooting done in Glasgow, which no doubt Glaswegians will miss and notice. Those not familiar with Glasgow, please note, this does not ruin the film, but please be aware, the real-life Glasgow locations were less grand and more grim. One particular location could not be filmed as it had been demolished. A well-known story, which sadly is not in the film.

    I remember reading 'Donny Brasco' many years ago, thinking it would be a great film, and not happy when the film came out, as it was very different from the book. However, 'Donny' is a good film. Treat this film the same way. For artistic and legal reasons, sometimes things need to be changed. The recollections of one person may not match those of someone else.

    Some criticize this film for glamourizing violence. This reviewer disagrees. Criminality, gangsterism and violence are de-glamourized by this film.

    This film should always have been made. The subject matter makes that so. It is a good gangster film, hence; 7/10.

  4. A brilliant movie, beautiful to watch in it's way, a damn near perfect film in it's true to life portrayal of the Glaswegian underworld. The American gangster movie is highly lauded but this film resets the genre to a different place and a more recent period, and this time it is the real McCoy not some Hollywood fiction with over blown "action" and set piece fictional events. This is set in the real world of a broken city. Not much to say other than worth your time. Yes in places the local accent will be a slight challenge for some but this movie delivers both in storytelling and cinematography. The compelling performance of Martin Compston as Paul Ferris is an eyeful, an actor to watch but in truth an all round great cast. Director Ray Burdis has elevated a hackneyed genre to an unexpected level. I think I'll watch it again.

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