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It's Tarantino without the style, fun and self-awareness

WELL, the affectionate title tells you where this film is going; and it's not about to portray Paul Ferris as part of the cancer of criminality that pervades Glasgow life.

It's an attempt to maintain Ferris as the victim, a young man so demonised by violence he had to take to a world of stabbing, slashing and shooting to survive.

Young Paul (Daniel Kerr) is cute as a button, a victim of bullying, and as we watch how his dog is killed and (later) his girlfriend raped by thugs, the cute kid turns into a dark avenger, Blackhill's answer to Bruce Wayne. But, instead of carting off evil to jail, Ferris beats and stabs his way to revenge.

Early on in the movie Ferris admits he enjoys violence, which opens the door of possibility in the mind of the audience this may be a movie that explains the madness we read about so often.

But it dissolves faster than Patrick Bergen's attempt at an Arthur Thompson Scots accent. Indeed, the Dubliner sounds more Mrs Brown than Glasgow bad boy.

The Kray Twins worked because it revealed the world of insanity that was the brothers grim, and because ultimately they paid the price. Jimmy Boyle's Sense of Freedom succeeded because the film highlighted the ravages of the prison service, and how redemption may be possible if miscreants re-routed.

But The Wee Man doesn't do a great deal except lineate how a clutch of Glasgow hoods shot and stabbed each other as often as they drank booze and took coke. It doesn't analyse the psychology of crime, the notion of redemption, crime and punishment. It's Tarantino, but without the style, the fun, and self-awareness of the writer. And the timelines are often confusing.

Any pluses? Yes, Martin Compston and Laura McMonagle are excellent as Ferris and girlfriend Annmarie. And the movie may well be a hit in Glasgow, a city which loves to stare vicariously at its own underbelly.

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