If you're looking to fill a winter afternoon then this very watchable film, an Anglo/German collaboration based on the extraordinary true story of Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, is a good choice.
Non-football fans can rest easy; The Keeper is written with a broad audience in mind and isn't really a football film, more a romantic historical drama with some iconic football moments thrown in.
Trautmann was a German POW in England at the end of World War II and, much to his surprise, was recruited into a local football team in desperate need of a goalie. As you can imagine, this didn't go down well with the locals, the team or the coach's daughter, Margaret (Freya Mavor).
There isn't much surprise when romance blossoms, but there is at the end of the football season when Trautmann is asked to try out as goalkeeper for Manchester City. It's a position he holds from 1949 until 1964, during which time he becomes a legend after playing in a victorious 1956 FA Cup Final with a broken neck.
Obviously, it takes time for the locals to accept a German soldier as one of their own, but director Marcus H. Rosenmuller adopts a sympathetic tone towards all the characters involved in this remarkable story.
As a consequence, we learn little about Trautmann's time in the German Army and how he came to receive the Iron Cross, or the true complexity of his personal life, but there's plenty of tragedy and drama to fill the two hours.
Heartfelt and handsomely shot the subject matter makes for an enjoyable film – particularly if like me you had no idea a German POW became an English football hero so soon after the war.
David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw
Marcus H. Rosenmuller
M (Violence and offensive language)
Perfect Sunday afternoon viewing.