You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Wee Man

The violent past of onetime Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris yields a banal biopic in "The Wee Man," returning multihyphenate Ray Burdis ("Love, Honor and Obey") to the director's chair after an absence of 13 years.

With: Martin Compston, John Hannah, Patrick Bergin, Stephen McCole, Laura McMonagle, Denis Lawson, Clare Grogan, Daniel Kerr, Rita Tushingham.

The violent past of onetime Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris yields a banal biopic in “The Wee Man,” returning multihyphenate Ray Burdis (“Love, Honor and Obey”) to the director’s chair after an absence of 13 years. This highly sympathetic and thus controversial portrait of the ruthless enforcer fillets selectively from Ferris’ own memoir, depicting a bullied child and affable teen goaded into standing up to psychotic local thugs. Stabbings, gougings and brutal slayings have proved tasty fare for bloodthirsty Scottish genre fans, delivering a surprise £239,000 ($376,000) in 10 days.

The casting of genial presence Martin Compston helps render the adult Ferris a sympathetic protag, as he rises up the ranks loyal to the local godfather (Patrick Bergin), before falling foul of the kingpin’s jealous son (a vivid Stephen McCole) and a duplicitous rival player (John Hannah). The subtext-light script aggressively steers audience sympathies through a well-signposted morality tale, but there’s little of distinction to appeal beyond Scotland’s borders. Tech credits are adequate, although London’s East End stands in for authentic Glasgow locations, reportedly necessitated by uncooperative local authorities.

The Wee Man


Production: A Carnaby Films release of a Carnaby Intl. Prods. presentation in association with Wee Man Prods., VTR Media Investments. (International sales: Genesis Film Sales, London.) Produced by Michael Loveday. Executive producers, Shail Shah, Billy Murray. Co-producers, Andrew Loveday, Terry Loveday. Directed, written by Ray Burdis.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD) Ali Asad; editor, William Gilbey; music, John Beckett; production designers, Belinda Cusmano, Alice Norris; set decorator, Dominic Smithers; costume designer, Hayley Nebauer; sound (Dolby Digital), Mario Mooney; re-recording mixers, Richard Lewis, Steve Parker; special effects, Scott McIntyre; visual effects supervisor, Hasraf Dulull; stunt coordinator, Rocky Taylor; line producer, Gerry Toomey; assistant director, Dan Mumford; casting, Steve Daly, Julie Dunne. Reviewed on DVD, London, Feb. 1, 2013. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Martin Compston, John Hannah, Patrick Bergin, Stephen McCole, Laura McMonagle, Denis Lawson, Clare Grogan, Daniel Kerr, Rita Tushingham.

More Film

  • Kirby Dick Amy Ziering

    'On The Record,' Russell Simmons #MeToo Doc, Charts Course to Sundance After Oprah Exit

    Update: A spokesperson for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering says the filmmaking team will participate in print and broadcast interviews at the Sundance film festival. The accusers featured in the film are weighing press options at this time. Earlier, a spokesperson for the film “On The Record” confirmed to Variety that only photo calls would [...]

  • Ariel Winograd'TOD@S CAEN' film premiere, Los

    Viacom International Studios Signs First Look Deal with Ariel Winograd (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Adding to a powerful and still growing talent roster, Viacom International Studios (VIS) has clinched a first-look deal with Argentine writer-director Ariel Winograd whose latest movie, “The Heist of the Century,” has just become one of the biggest Argentine openers in history. The multi-year pact takes in the development and production of not [...]

  • William Bogert Dead: 'Small Wonder' Actor

    William Bogert, Who Appeared in 'War Games,' 'Small Wonder,' Dies at 83

    TV, film and theater actor William Bogert, who appeared in a recurring role on 1980s sitcom “Small Wonder” and in films such as “War Games,” died Jan. 12 in New York. He was 83. On “Small Wonder,” which ran from 1985 to 1989, Bogert played Brandon Brindle, the Lawsons’ neighbor and Harriet’s father who became [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    Why '1917' Is the Last Film That Should Be Winning the Oscar (Column)

    There’s a feeling I always get at the end of a long Oscar night when the movie that won isn’t a terrible choice, but it’s the safe, blah, MOR predictable choice, the one that conforms to the dullest conventional wisdom about the kinds of movies Oscar voters prefer, because in the core of their being [...]

  • Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock'

    Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock' in the Works as Feature Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Enderby Entertainment is developing a feature film based on Melissa Fay Greene’s civil rights drama “Praying for Sheetrock,” Variety has learned exclusively. The non-fiction book, published in 1991, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Georgia Historical Society Bell Award and the ACLU National Civil [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content