ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – K – The Keeper (2018) Movie Review

Director: Marcus H Rosenmuller

Writer: Marcus H Rosenmuller, Nicholas J Schofield (Screenplay)

Starring: David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw, Harry Melling, Michael Socha, Dave Johns, Barbara Young

Plot: The Keeper tells the extraordinary love story between a young English woman and a German PoW, who together overcome prejudice, public hostility, and personal tragedy. While visiting a PoW camp near Manchester at the end of WWII, Margaret Friar, the daughter of the manager of the local football team, notices young German soldier Bert Trautmann. 


Tagline – He came as an enemy… And became their hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstanding

Story: The Keeper starts with the war ending, the English are putting their lives back together and the German Prisoners of war are helping with the rebuilding process. Jack Friar (Henshaw) a local shopkeeper who wheels and deals with the soldiers, while noticing one of the prisoners, paratrooper Bert Trautmann (Kross) has goalkeeping skills.

Jack offers Bert a place in his shop and being the goalkeeper for his local struggling football team, soon the teams fortunes turn around and suddenly the locals including his daughter Margaret (Mavor) learn that just because he is German, he didn’t have a choice but to fight. Bert builds a reputation which will make him one of the greatest goalkeepers of an era, one whose story will change football in England forever.

Thoughts on The Keeper

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Bert Trautmann was a paratrooper for the Germans in World War II, he was captured by the English becoming a prisoner of war, waiting for his chance to return home, he must serve around the village where his goalkeeping skills are discovered seeing him sign for Manchester City. Outside of football he must prove that he was a solider with little choice, but to fight for the Germans, he must overcome all the hate that is thrown his way, while falling in love with an English woman, breaking the boundaries of post war feelings. Margaret is the local woman that isn’t happy about having a German around the village, but slowly gets to learn that he didn’t have a choice, as the two slowly start to fall in love, showing how people need to learn to forgive, instead of holding on the hate. Jack Friar is the man who gives the Bert a chance to go in goal for a local team, a place to work away from the camp and lets him into his life, he is a typical wheeler and dealer. Jock Thompson is the Manchester City manager who offers Bert a chance at a major team, he has a bigger job at bringing a city together to support a man that could change the team’s fortunes.

PerformancesDavid Kross is brilliant as the solider turned goalkeeper, he shows us the pain a war soldier would have been through, just showing the hope he wants a new life after it. Freya Mavor is wonderful too in her role, which shows us how somebody would stand up for a change. In the support roles we have strong work from everybody through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life and career of former prisoner of war, turned professional goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, how he found love and had to build bridges after the war to make history. Before watching this story, I only knew one major part of Bert’s career, the FA Cup final he won with a broken neck, this is shown and is very scary to watch, when you think about the safety in sport now. Outside of this we get to dive into how the English must learn to forgive the Germans for what happened in the war, something that was never going to be easy, but it was the only way to move forward, this is show through the different levels of acceptance Bert must achieve, his personal life is also very interesting to see, with the ups and downs which could have broken any man, showing the horrors war did to him too. This story is a must watch for any of the sports fans out there, it is told in a way that does show people can be good, not everyone is considered to be bad.

Biopic/Sport/WarWe do follow Bert’s time from his POW days to his return to football after his own personal tragedy, seeing this shows how the war can create a divide that needs to be broken and with sport, it gave him a chance to build the bridges.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, they are kept simple for the most part, with it being focused on the small village and the football stadiums.


Scene of the Movie – The cup final.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain hate filled characters, are just basic with why they are created, a little bit more about them would have given them more reason to hate.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant biopic about one of the most iconic men to every play football, we see his life which was filled with so much to overcome, he still managed to make history.

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Goalie (2019) Movie Review

Director: Adriana Maggs

Writer: Adriana Maggs, Jane Maggs (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark O’Brien, Kevin Pollak, Georgina Reilly, Eric Bruneau, Steve Byers, Ted Atherton, Janine Theriault

Plot: Biopic of the life of legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Surprising Look at Sports Conditioning

Story: Goalie starts as we see how Terry Sawchuk grew up under the shadow of his older brother who was waiting for scouts to give him a chance in the big time, only his father Louis (Atherton) needed him to work to keep a roof over the family. After his brother sudden death, Terry builds up his own reputation as an ice hockey goalie.

Terry gets signed by Detroit under coach Jack Adams (Pollak) while remaining humble in his new found fame, where his reputation continues to grow, as he continues to play through injuries to make history as one of the most legendary goaltenders in the game.

Thoughts on Goalie

Characters – Terry Sawchuk came from a struggling family, where he idolised his brother a young ice hockey goaltender who is meant to have a big future, after his brother’s death, Terry takes the role and builds himself a reputation which sees him signed to the big time after an injury to the current goaltender. Terry becomes the best tender in the league, though not a price, he plays through injuries that should be rested, which sees him going through addictions to cover up his own pain. Jack Adams is the Detroit coach that gives Terry the big break, he sees him as the star of his team, but also knows that he needs a goaltender fit and ready, whenever one gets injured, he searches for a replacement instead of a temp, which does create tension between the two when the injuries start catching up. Pat Morey is the woman Terry marries and starts a family with, she does deal with his problems that he is facing standing by him while keeping their children safe. We do see the players that all admire the goaltenders and have more fun during the season, because of the lower number of injuries they suffer from.

PerformancesMark O’Brien is wonderful in this leading role, he shows us every emotional problems Terry went through, the pain he feels through the season, in his head and the delight when things go his way. Kevin Pollak does bring some star power to the film, making a big impact in his scenes, while Georgina Reilly shows us how to do the supporting spouse who might not take everything that comes her way.

StoryThe story here follows the career of legendary ice hockey player Terry Sawchuk who was considered one of the greatest goaltenders the sport ever saw. The story does show more of the personal life, which showed how difficult being a goaltender was, with clubs only have one and an injury meant you were axed, this increased the pressure on the player who would have to work through injuries just to keep his job, way before the union was involved in the sport. We don’t seem to learn too much of the pure joy of success or how much he wins, which could have been made clearer, while it also doesn’t paint enough of the importance of the union being included, just how much it changed the later stages of Terry’s career. The focus is solely on his personal battle to stay in a team and giving up his own health, family and future to keep his role in the team, no matter how good he was considered in the sport.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film only shows the personal struggles that Terry went through, but not enough of the joy of success on the ice.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the era that we are going through, with the locker room being key to how Terry’s mind was going forward.


Scene of the Movie – Terry gets involved with banter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing or feeling the success felt by the players.

Final Thoughts This is a good look at how sport evolved after seeing a player suffer for so long with the effects it took on his body and his mind.

Overall: Biopic 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – The Fighter (2010)

Director: David O. Russell

Writer: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Screenplay) Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Melissa McMeekin, Bianca Hunter

Plot: Based on the story of Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness.


Tagline – Every dream deserves a fighting chance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: The Fighter starts as we meet Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as he is preparing to follow in his brother’s footsteps Dicky Eklund (Bale) with a camera crew following them around because this is meant to be Dicky’s big return to the boxing world after his famous win as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Micky is meant to have an easy win fight, but a surprise change leaves him defeated once again, he starts to date Charlene (Adams) a local bar maid, who pushes him into standing up to his pushy family of Dicky who is always at a crack house and his mother Alice (Leo) that always believes she knows what is right for Micky, can he still create his own chance or not.

Thoughts on The Fighter

Characters – Micky Ward is the uprising boxer who is preparing for a big fight, he is trained by his older brother who has his own addiction, Micky lets his family guide him, mostly down the wrong roads, he meets a new woman in Charlene that helps him push back to restore his family’s name. Dicky is the older brother and former boxer, he feel out of the spotlight with his drug addiction and is looking to bring his brother into the light by being his trainer, the problems start by the fact he can never arrive on time and is letting his drug addiction control his life, breaking the law to try and do the right thing. Charlene Fleming is barmaid that Micky falls in love with, she tries to help him go after his own path instead of letting his family hold him back. Alice Ward is the mother of the boxers, she is their manager, but doesn’t always have their best interest in mind

PerformancesMark Wahlberg gives one of his career best performances of his career here, he doesn’t turn to any of the wise cracking which is often his trademark either. Christian Bale once again proves he can adapt to any role which will see him do a body transformation. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo complete the brilliant performances in this film which shows us just how talented this cast truly is.

StoryThe story here follows Micky Ward the brother of a former professional boxer that is looking to make his way to the top in boxing too, he is being held back by his controlling mother and fame seeking crack addict brother, until his girlfriend comes along to help put him back on the right path. This is based on the real boxers from the mid-90s and how they had to overcome their own personal problems to make it in boxing, we do a follow more of the family drama behind everything, how Micky was torn between who to take help from and how Dicky was full of himself due to his addiction. This does show us just how family can take life in negative directions if you let them take over your own potential if you let them and finding your own path can make you a success.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic side of the film shows just how difficult it can be to live in the shadow of a former professional and follows the family who have been through a lot, meaning the fighting is now for family honour. The boxing is limited till the final fight which is the longest any fight last and shows just how realistic you can be on the body.

SettingsThe film uses the settings that the family is from a very close neighbourhood which idolises Dicky and want to be behind Micky on his rise, they help each other and support their local heroes.


Scene of the Movie – Title fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – You could have seen more from the recovery process for Dicky.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent fighting drama that shows how family can be the best and worst part of any boxer’s life when they are going to try and make history.

Overall: Brilliant drama.

Journeyman (2017)

Director: Paddy Considine

Writer: Paddy Considine (Screenplay)

Starring: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Paul Popplewell, Brendan Ingle, Tony Pitts, Matt Insley, Anthony Welsh

Plot: Boxer Matty Burton suffers a serious head injury during a fight. This is the story about the impact on his marriage, his life, and his family.


Tagline – A snapshot into the life of a struggling boxer

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational and Eye Opening

Story: Journeyman starts as Matty Burton (Considine) has finally won middleweight boxing championship, he now has everything with his wife Emma (Whittaker) and new born baby Mia, he is preparing for his first defence of his title against the undefeated Andre Bryte (Welsh) who believes Matty is just a lucky champion.

After Matty wins the fight he returns home to celebrate with Emma, only to collapse from a head injury that he suffered during the fight, he has suffered a serious brain injury. After the operations, Matty isn’t the man he once was, needing Emma to help him around the house with everyday activities

Thoughts on Journeyman

Characters – Matty Burton is a champion boxer, he has spent his career working up to the title and now he has it, he must prepare to defend it and defend it he does. This fight leaves him with a brain injury, which sees everyday function gone, he can’t remember how to do the basics of everyday life and is left feeling helpless, acting out against his wife who is trying to help him. Emma is Matty’s wife, she has always supported his career and with this new injury, she must adapt to life with his brain injury, she is also trying to raise their daughter, with Matty unable to help the way he once did, leaving her in the difficult situation of who she can give more time and care too. Jackie and Richie are the friends from the ring, they start by staying away, but they turn into the only one that can help Matty rediscover himself.

PerformancesPaddy Considine gives us a career best performance, where you see him as a nice guy that must deal with such a sudden change and the pain it causes him is shown on every expressions, he gives us. Jodie Whittaker is wonderful in the supporting role which sees her needing to remain strong through the film. Paul Popplewell and Tony Pitts complete the main cast where they are all both great supporting performers.

StoryThe story here follows a boxer that wins his title defence only to suffer a serious brain injury that makes everyday of his life difficult as he must relearn how to do the basics and must prove he is safe enough to raise a baby around. This is one of the most eye-opening stories you will see, it does show the danger in boxing and how suddenly a punch could change a career and life forever, even in a competitive situation. We don’t focus too much on the boxing, only the aftereffects which shows the difficult early days, weeks or months on the road to recover and how that person might never be fixed, only able to learn to live with their injuries. This is one for the boxing fans to watch or any sports or even anyone that wants to see how difficult brain injuries can be on a family.

SportsThe sports side of the film shows us how the boxing can effect the lives of the competitors when it comes to brain injuries, we do only see one fight, but it is the routine of boxing which helps recovery process.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands, it does put us in a realistic boxing community, instead of a flashy rich home like we often see in boxing movies.


Scene of the Movie – The return to the boxing club.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at how boxing can change a life through injury and how people need to learn to adapt to the change in life.

Overall: Paddy Considine gives a career best.

Rating

McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.

Rating