The Keeper review

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The story of goalkeeper Bert Trautmann is brought to the screen in reasonably ambitious style.

Certificate: 15
Director: Marcus H Rosenmuller
Cast: David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw
Release date: 5th April
Reviewer: Simon Brew

Those who know the story of Bert Trautmann tend to know the most infamous chapter. That he was the goalkeeper for Manchester City Football Club in the 1956 FA Cup Final, where he ended up on the winning side in spite of finishing the match with a broken neck. The opposition team that day were Birmingham City, who I support, but be assured that didn’t affect the star rating at the top.

What’s quietly impressive about The Keeper is it’s a biopic that packs a lot of Trautmann’s extraordinary story into just under two hours. Sometimes you lose a little depth as a consequence, but still here’s the story of a German prison of war, who finds himself playing football in the north of England in the surprisingly recent aftermath of the year. All the while, he’s haunted by his past, whilst developing a romance with a young woman, Margaret.

So The Keeper bites off slightly more of his story than you may expect, and David Kross in the lead role has his work cut out to do justice to Trautmann. He does him proud, and is the anchor in a film that occasionally slips into people talking at each other rather than having conversations but is never far from another fascinating turn in its story. Director and co-writer Marcus H Rosenmuller seems slightly more interested in the romance story, but he’s no slouch when it comes to recreating football on the big screen. The big match scenes are surprisingly well done, and the Anglo-German production has provided enough funds to do the film’s story and setting justice. Credit too to Freya Mavor and John Henshaw, the other standouts in the ensemble.

A solid piece of work, and a really ambitious biopic. It doesn’t all work, but that’s more a consequence of trying a little too much than selling you short.

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