The film’s final message becomes more about Britian’s post war prejudices than that of Bert Trautmann’s achievements
Wartime drama is a difficult genre to get right. Especially that of the Second World War which has been documented in so many productions, in multiple methods, and a plethora of platforms. The stories that come from them are often stale and unimpressive, with recycled ideas and uninspiring plot-lines.
But the initial story of a German prisoner of war, Bert Trautmann (David Kross), moving on to play goalkeeper for Manchester City Football Club is one of great interest, and capturing that as a story within a feature offers a great opportunity to inspire and mobilise a fascinating period of history.
However, the method of the capture is vitally important, and Marcus H. Rosenmuller’s latest feature doesn’t always take the best route, falling into too many of the traps wartime drama has been sucked into previously, forgetting how unique it’s story actually is.
Too much focus is given to the story’s initial love triangle, sitting far too formulaic with little regard for what the story is actually about. Trautmann was clearly a fascinating character, and by reducing the majority of the film to a love battle, there’s only a limited time for the revolutionary nature of the story to be exposed.
The football side of the film is handled well, if a little underwhelming in its early stages, yet when Trautmann eventually signs for Manchester City, The Keeper offers a great new angle focusing on post war relationships within the country and across Europe. Yet by severely limiting it’s screen time, there’s an element of missed opportunity and wasted time. The pace of the feature is greatly expanded, and The Keeper essentially overwrites its initial story.
It isn’t necessarily undermining it’s previous screen time, but it denitiely voids much of the character building work. The film’s final message becomes more about Britian’s post war prejudices than that of Bert Trautmann’s achievements.
The Keeper is informative, if unrefined, putting its success in the hands of too many elements to guarantee a streamlined finish. There’s an excitement level to the final third that wartime films often fail to get even close to, but with its fingers firmly in other jars as well, the overall success is somewhat layers below that of its FA Cup final peak.
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