Ray Burdis - The Wee Man is Nay Good, According to Critics

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Scottish cinema does 'grit' very well, from Trainspotting to Sweet Sixteen and Red Road, the order of the day tends to be sex, drugs and violence. The latest movie from Ray Burdis (The Krays) is called The Wee Man, and once again fulfills the expectations of the generic 'Scottish gritty movie', but doesn't do so with quite the finesse or quality that an audience may want. Initial reviews are in, and it's not looking good.

The plot follows Paul Ferris growing up in Glasgow, by the age of 11 he's learnt that "life on the street is tough," and, having been tormented all his life, by the time he reaches his late teens he's had enough, so "he decides to take on his tormentors alone and systematically wreak vengeance on them."

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw has given it a distinctly underwhelming 2/5 stars. While he praises the good cast, he likens it to countless other 'real life' crime stories from "the self-pitying and self-serving books by ex-criminals who explain how their crime career began". Despite the good cast, he says "as a whole, it's forgettable."

Likewise, the Telegraph's Robbie Collins feels it's old hat, "slathered with the predictable gloss and clichés of every other lumpen gangland biopic these shores have hatched." And TotalFilm effectively repeats both these views, saying "John Hannah, Denis Lawson and Rita Tushingham all memorably steal scenes but this brutal rise-to-infamy flick descends into a smug, profanity-choked endurance test." 

To its credit, popular film review site HeyUGuys was more sold on the film and gave it 3/5 stars. "On the whole," they write, "The Wee Man is a fascinating story well told - the first steps in making a decent movie. And in contrast to the violent subject matter, there lurks a rather droll Scottish humour hidden away in this film." 


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The Wee Man is Nay Good, According to Critics

Scottish cinema does 'grit' very well, from Trainspotting to Sweet Sixteen and Red Road, the order of the day tends to be sex, drugs and...

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glasgowguy2's picture

glasgowguy2

Having lived in Glasgow all my life and growing up in the shadows of these gangster figures Thompson, McGraw and Ferris I needed to go and see this movie for myself. I was pleasantly surprised by its contents albeit somewhat the use of artistic license it is none the less a very good tale of deceit, corruption and greed. Thompson was a man with no conscience, McGraw was a man with no real friends and Ferris was a man with no compassion. My father knew Thompson first-hand and believe me he hated him with a passion because of his brutality towards men who could not defend themselves without fear of revenge from Thompson’s heavies. The movie itself shows a realism of what Glasgow was like during its dark period which included car bombs, murders, shootings, stabbings and general violence that has already been well documented. With regards to accuracy? First of all it’s a film and not a documentary and feels that Carnaby/Ray Burdis have given us something to chew over about the film which will no doubt pander to a particular audience. It is worthy to note that this film was outselling all the other films on offer and also the comments I paid attention to when the movie came to a close was quite extraordinary. There must have been plenty of victims of the main protagonists in the cinema that night! As for Arthur “The Godfather” Thompson he was and still is Glasgow’s biggest asset that Strathclyde police ever had (or will ever have his like again) and although I do not profess to know any of the families in person I do know that Thompson was a far bigger asset to the police than Tam McGraw. I would rate this film 5/10

1 year 11 months ago
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glasgowguy2's picture

glasgowguy2

Having lived in Glasgow all my life and growing up in the shadows of these gangster figures Thompson, McGraw and Ferris I needed to go and see this movie for myself. I was pleasantly surprised by its contents albeit somewhat the use of artistic license it is none the less a very good tale of deceit, corruption and greed. Thompson was a man with no conscience, McGraw was a man with no real friends and Ferris was a man with no compassion. My father knew Thompson first-hand and believe me he hated him with a passion because of his brutality towards men who could not defend themselves without fear of revenge from Thompson’s heavies. The movie itself shows a realism of what Glasgow was like during its dark period which included car bombs, murders, shootings, stabbings and general violence that has already been well documented. With regards to accuracy? First of all it’s a film and not a documentary and feels that Carnaby/Ray Burdis have given us something to chew over about the film which will no doubt pander to a particular audience. It is worthy to note that this film was outselling all the other films on offer and also the comments I paid attention to when the movie came to a close was quite extraordinary. There must have been plenty of victims of the main protagonists in the cinema that night! As for Arthur “The Godfather” Thompson he was and still is Glasgow’s biggest asset that Strathclyde police ever had (or will ever have his like again) and although I do not profess to know any of the families in person I do know that Thompson was a far bigger asset to the police than Tam McGraw. I would rate this film 5/10

1 year 11 months ago
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