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Review: The Keeper

Kirsten Murray reviews the inspiring and original post-war story

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Image Credit: Parkland Entertainment

The Keeper is an emotional, heart-warming and heart-breaking story of German footballer, Bert Traumann, played by David Kross, in the aftermath of World War II. Despite being a film centred around the world of football, the story extends to far more than just a story about sport and instead is a drama filled with love, hatred, sadness and hope.

Prior to seeing the film, I knew nothing of what it was about and was astonished in realising it is a true story. Bert Traumann was a German soldier captured in a prison camp near Manchester at the end of the war when local football manager, Jack Friar, scouted him to be the new goal-keeper for his team. This chance changed Traumann’s life forever and gave him an outlet to escape from the horrors of his past as a Nazi. Director Marcus H. Rosenmüller portrays Traumann as who he truly was, a man not so different from the British. Like the British soldiers, he had no choice in fighting the war and the film emphasises how the hatred the British had for the German’s was futile and useless, as the blame for the whole war cannot possibly have been the responsibility of one young man. With flashbacks, the plot focuses on a single barbaric moment which has haunted Trautmann his whole life and brings attention to the intense psychological impact the war had on soldiers.

Margaret develops from a young, impressionable girl into a strong woman who falls in love with Bert the man, not the Nazi.

The power of love between Trautmann and Friar’s daughter, Margaret, gives the couple the strength to overcome social prejudice, public torment and personal tragedy. The journey of their relationship is long and bitter-sweet. Margaret develops from a young, impressionable girl into a strong woman who falls in love with Bert the man, not the Nazi. Originally accepting she cannot have any form of relationship with Bert due to the single fact that he is a German, she manages to see past the German Nazi label. Her strength sees her stand up for her husband against the men of the town as she fights for them to see the Bert she loves, a man who had no choice but to be loyal to his country and behaved exactly as the British soldiers were also taught to do so.

Trautmann’s big break comes when he is scouted by Manchester City and his heroic win at the FA Cup Final in 1956 provides yet another example of this young man’s incredibly will power and determination. The story displays how sport acts as a route of escapism, as through football Traumann finds a way to keep playing and keep surviving through life, even when he is faced with the toughest of battles.

This incredible historic story is a must see and sheds light in a completely different way on a young soldier and his successes and struggles in the aftermath of World War II. Receiving an OBE in 2004 for his great work in Anglo-German relations, Trautmann is a truly inspirational figure and removes his Nazi label and presents him as a kind, loving, and ordinary man, trying to deal with his scarred past.

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