The Keeper – a watchable, engaging story of hope & humanity triumphing over bitter resentment

Marcus H Rosenmüller’s robust, no nonsense account of Bert Trautmann’s improbable, but true, journey towards a role as Manchester City’s post war goalie is a loving tribute to reconciliation and forgiveness that is a paean to decency.

Initially, the very presence of this former Wehrmacht soldier caused outrage in Manchester, particularly among its Jewish community. However, the ease with which Trautmann subsequently integrated into British life following his release as a Prisoner of War is the first of many surprises, not least in these febrile times. David Kross as Trautmann and Freya Mavor as his wife Margaret both give likeable, charming performances, though perhaps inevitably John Henshaw frequently steps in to scene steal as her bluff, plain-speaking Dad. And just when you think Trautmann’s story cannot get any more improbable, screenwriters Robert Marciniak and Nicholas Schofield repeatedly pull the audience this way and that, as both tragedy and victory take a toll on the footballer and his wife.

It says much for their writing skills that they have carved out such a convincing narrative from the most unlikely of facts, fashioning a hybrid of sports and war moves into a watchable, engaging story of hope and humanity triumphing over bitter resentment.

The Keeper (15) screens Wednesday 25 September at 10:30am & 7:30pm

By David Vass