Time Out says
Nazi paratrooper-turned-goalkeeping-hero Bert Trautmann offers almost too much story for this over-stuffed but likeable biopic.
It’s an old cliché about biopics that if the story wasn’t true, you probably wouldn’t believe it. ‘The Keeper’ takes it a step further: you know it’s true and you still don’t believe it. There’s just no making up a story of an ex-Nazi paratrooper who swaps the Luftwaffe for Manchester City’s goalkeeper jersey, via a stint in a Merseyside POW camp, a love story with a local lass and a load of war-sharpened xenophobia. And that’s just the first half of this likeable, if sometimes heavy-handed, British-German collaboration about the life of cult football hero-and-pub quiz question Bert Trautmann (David Kross from ‘The Reader’). The man was just getting warmed up.
That improbable but gripping story arc is the film’s strength and its weakness. Co-writer and director Marcus H Rosenmüller does a decent job establishing sympathy with a man the Brits initially thought of as a bit of a wrong ’un. (Trautmann, we learn, was in deep in the Nazi war effort to the tune of an Iron Cross.) In that, he’s aided by a steely, clenched performance from Kross that softens as Freya Mavor’s initially frosty local draws him out. The football scenes, usually an ungodly mess in movies, are well done, with CG crowds lending nice atmospherics.
But ‘The Keeper’ never seems sure whether to focus on Trautmann the husband or Trautmann the footballer. By the time it introduces the idea of Trautmann the family man and throws in another off-balancing twist, the buttons are popping. Maybe they should have ended it in the time-honoured way: penalties.
Cast and crew