The True Story of Glasgow Gangster Paul Ferris

It’s hard trying to stay objective, when you’re watching something you’re very familiar with, but, a’l gea it a wee try. No wit a mean’n’nat? This is the story of career criminal Paul Ferris, who starts to work for the local “Godfather,” Arthur Thompson. Eventually, Thompson turns on him thanks to his son Arthur Jr, with acts of violence and attempts to discredit him within the criminal community. It turned out to be a time of much bloodletting, and police corruption. Strange, they seemed to go hand in hand, in bygone Britain. Not a pretty picture.

Paul Ferris (Martin Compston) has grown up on the streets of Glasgow, with his father (Denis Lawson) offering guidance, but clearly lacking with questionable parenting skills. The three nuggets of wisdom given to Paul are something like “beware of strangers, loyalty to loved ones and be a lion, not a lamb,” but he also indicates an acceptance of apathy and police silence. Paul is also allowed to share money with his father, after witnessing a murder, then stealing from the victim. I’m sure this was mostly done for dramatic purpose, at least, I hope that’s the case. Paul is bullied by a gang of brothers, but he finally stands up for himself, by repeatedly stabbing the siblings, showing the wee man had finally arrived.

He gains notoriety, and the attentions of the local hoodlum, Arthur Thompson (Patrick Bergin), known to all as “The Godfather.” Thompson’s son and heir Junior, is a trouble making cocaine addict, who see’s Paul’s rise in station as a threat. Now Paul Ferris has to watch his back, as he has both the corrupt police and a sociopathic drug addled Walter Mitty “chib man,” to contend with.

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I had one or two problems with the cliché ridden The Wee Man, like pacing, with a very slow start, it was a bit of a chore to keep interest. This being director Ray Burdis’ first movie in thirteen years, it’s perhaps understandable, but also some of the performances were less than adequate. Granted, some of the local talent were raw recruits, but they weren’t the only ones dialing in their performance. John Hannah was easily my favourite, as he played Tam Mcgraw, another police informant. John Hannah was extremely good playing Batiatus in the Spartacus miniseries. Patrick Bergin was also good playing Arthur Thompson. Martin Compston can do these parts extremely well, and convincingly played ex-criminal Paul Ferris.

Martin can be seen shortly in Filth, the new Irvin Welsh (Trainspotting) penned movie, which stars Scotland’s other son James McAvoy (also in Filth). Seeing Clare Grogan again really takes me back. This was indeed a good movie, however, it takes its time revealing itself, but, a little investment is worth the effort. If you’re in the mood for a Brit gangster flick, you could do a lot worse than The Wee Man.

Grade: B

by Nav Qateel