Another film that the critics don’t agree with me on is a gangster movie directed and written by Ray Burdis and based in Glasgow, (but filmed in the East End of London because the Strathclyde police were not chuffed by the way they were portrayed in the movie!) The Wee Man (2012) depicts the ‘true’ story of the Scottish gangland villain Paul Ferris who from the age of nineteen became an enforcer for the notorious Glasgow born gangster Arthur ‘The Godfather’ Thompson, collecting debts and allegedly administering ‘justice’ on the big mans behalf. The movie looks at Ferris’s background, his family and friends and how he came to become a criminal. It is claimed that his life of crime started when following several years of bullying by a local criminal family, and still a teenager, he carried out a series of revenge knife attacks on the brothers and was arrested and sent to Longriggend Remand Centre. It was on his release he came to the notice of the man that was to rule Glasgow’s criminal underworld for over thirty years.
The strength of this movie, which was based on the books that Ferris wrote while he was incarcerated over the years, is in the acting. Martin Compston, who has been appearing in the very well received BBC crime drama The Line of Duty, brings Paul Ferris to life, while John Hannah, who played Rebus in the TV series of the same name from 2000 to 2001 before Ken Stot made the character his own in 2006, makes a convincing fist of Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw. Also in the cast are Patrick Bergin as Arthur Thompson, Stephan McCole as Thompson Jnr Arthur’s son and Rita Tushingham as Arthur’s loyal wife. Also it would be remiss not to mention Denis Lawson who brings a real touch of class to the role of Paul Ferris’s dad. All right it not the Godfather (1972) or even Peter Mullan’s Glasgow crime story Neds (2010) but it was certainly worth digging out of the bargain bins at Fopp’s.