The Wee Man

Film Review by Alan Bett | 15 Jan 2013
  • The Wee Man
Film title: The Wee Man
Director: Ray Burdis
Starring: Martin Compston, John Hannah, Patrick Bergin, Stephen McCole, Laura McMonagle, Denis Lawson, Rita Tushingham, Clare Grogan
Release date: 18 Jan
Certificate: TBC

This is the hagiography of St Paul – Ferris that is. The Glasgow gangland hall-of-famer whose life is laid out here on celluloid, yet left untarnished and in no way deconstructed. These are gangster gospels and like the good book itself seem comfortable in their mythologising. And this is how we begin, with cold monochrome stills of the gritty Glasgow of legend before moving onto the soft focus seventies sentimentality of Ferris’s youth.

It picks up nicely as he cuts his way to the top of the criminal hierarchy, although compared to his harsh but enjoyable autobiography this is a sanitised version; an undeniably watchable criminal soap opera offering personal redemption.

The cast, formidable on paper, prove slightly less so on screen. Bergin seems intent on revenging Connery’s Untouchables accent by slipping into broad Irish as Glasgow Godfather Arthur Thomson Snr. Yet he still exudes a certain required menace which eludes some others here. Overall this is an interesting true story, only flawed in this standardised telling.