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."