the keeper

DIRECTOR: Marcus H. Rosenmuller (double trouble and the magical mirror)
starring:
david kross, freya mavor, john henshaw, and michael socha

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★★

A young English woman and a soccer-playing German POW overcome prejudice, public hostility and personal tragedy near the end of World War II.

I have to be honest. I'm more of a rugby fan than a football fan although I do enjoy a good Liverpool game once and a while. So when The Keeper popped up seemingly from nowhere the trailer looked half decent and I was intrigued yet it was all about a football player so I wondered whether it really would be a film for me. But The Keeper is so much more than a film about a football player. Its just brilliant. 

While visiting a PoW camp near Manchester at the end of WWII, Jack Friar, the manager of the local football team, notices young German soldier Bert Trautmann. Jack is so taken by Bert's prowess as a goal-keeper that he gets him out of the camp to play for his local team where he is noticed by Manchester's City Football Club. 

The recent bio pic trend is to focus on a particular time in the subjects life (The Darkest Hour focused on Churchill's response to Dunkirk and Rocketman focused on Elton John's battle with substance abuse and his early career) while The Keeper follows the majority of Trautmann's life.

Usually that hinders a bio pic as the motivation of the protagonist becomes blurred as it can slightly change throughout their life. The Keeper is the exception to the rule. Only focusing on one aspect of Trautmann's life would have robbed us of his extraordinary life. 

The story begins with him fighting in WWII and ends with him back playing for Manchester City after tragedy. And even though this is the story of a footballer and we see all of his development as a player, his trials and triumphs, The Keeper is more about the mettle of the man. 

Trautmann was an extraordinary man who overcame PTSD, bigotry, advocated for peace, and was a wonderful husband and father. I can't believe that this is the first time that the non football non Man City world has heard of him and his story. Its truly extraordinary. 

The film both tugs on the heart strings and has you crying with laughter, a testament to the fact that life can both be beautiful and have its truly dark moments too. The only slight let down is the ending which felt a little odd and forced. 

The cast is led magnificently by David Kross as Trautmann and he completely embodies the sporting prowess and the emotional turmoil of the character. Relative newcomer Freya Mavor does wonders with such a large role and veteran John Henshaw brings all the British humor that you need. 

A moving and at times funny tale of an extraordinary man, The Keeper is a film for both football fans and complete novices to the game.

★★★★

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The Keeper is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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