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.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Spartacus (1960) Thoughts

We are under U today because of star Peter Ustinov.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Dalton Trumbo (Screenplay) Howard Fast (Novel)

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Nina Foch

Plot: The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.


Tagline – The Electrifying Spectacle That Thrilled the World!

Runtime: 3 Hours 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Too Long, Too Slow

Story: Spartacus starts as young slave Spartacus (Douglas) gets sold to his latest owner Batiatus (Ustonov) who has been turning the slaves into fighters, which sees Spartacus training to become a warrior, only for him to lose his first fight, he finds himself leading a revolt against the owners, putting the Roman Republic needing to prepare for the problems they could face.

As Spartacus grows his army, the Romans put together a plan to stop the uprising, with different members of the empire using this as their own power play to become the ruler of the land.

Thoughts on Spartacus

Final Thoughts This is a film that is considered one of the classic of the art and for the time of release it would have been amazing, sure, only the problem is we have seen this story done many times since, we have seen the story trimmed to be watchable instead of nearly 3 and half hours long. This isn’t going to be a full review because after 1 and half hours, I simply couldn’t watch anymore, it is a shame because I like watching some of the classics, this one just isn’t one I could make it through.

Overall: Not for me.

Rating

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – # – Squadron 303 (2018) Movie Review

Director: Denis Delic

Writer: Chris Burdza, Thomsz Kepski, Jacek Samojolwicz (Screenplay) Arkady Fiedler (Book)

Starring: Piotr Adamczyk, Kirk Barker, Gabriela Calun, Maciej Cymorek, Nik Goldman, Antoni Krolikowski, Cara Theobold, Maciej Zakoscielny

Plot: This is the story of the highly regarded fighter squadron, in which served mainly airmen from Poland, in the history of aerial combat and their heroic defence of England during WW2, Battle of Britain against Nazi attacks. The 303 Squadron shot three times more Luftwaffe planes than any other allied squadrons.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak War Movie

Story: Squadron 303 starts at the beginning of World War II, the Polish air force have joined forces with the British, Witold Urbanowicz (Adamczyk) leads the small squadron, while the higher ups in England don’t want to rely on outside help.

As the Polish pilots prove themselves to be deadly in the air, their reputations start to grow, with a once famous actress Victoria Brown (Theobold) is being used to learn about the skills of the Polish. The longer the Polish stay in England the bigger their part in the war defence, which will one day make them heroes.

Thoughts on Squadron 303

Characters – Witold Urbanoqicz is the Polish general that is sent to try and control the pilots that are starting to get out of hand, not getting involved in their behaviour, but answering to the superiors who know what they must risk. Donald is the flashiest pilot, he will often go against orders, knowing he has the skills to get the job done in the skies. Victoria Brown is an actress that is bought into show some photo for the papers, while getting assigned to help the British watch the Polish pilots, slowly falling in love with one of them. We get to meet other Polish pilots, who are close and cockier than the English, while the English are more stuck up and determined to not be out flashed.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, most of the actors do struggle to make an impact, because the story decisions just make things more difficult for anybody to reach their potential.

StoryThe story here follows the Polish pilots that join forces with the British Air Force during World War II, where they must first overcome the discrimination towards them, and secondly get involved with the new heroism that is thrust upon them. This should be a story about the incredible fight the Polish pilots showed during World War II, only it just seems to dwindle into a bit of one upmanship and weird uncomfortable love angle. By the end of the film, you won’t feel anything, the random time jumps, showing why the man are fighting, only leaves us trying to keep up, though it could have show us a lot more from what it had to work with.

WarThe war side of the film does show us dog fights, which don’t look as intense as they could be, which also leaves us disappointed.

SettingsThe film uses the basic world war settings, showing how the people could have been in a new environment, waiting for the time that conflict comes their way.


Scene of the Movie – The first dog fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bad time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a disappoint war film that just doesn’t get going into the reality of war, making it feel like a small holiday with the way everything is shot.

Overall: Disappointing.

1917 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Screenplay)

Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth, pip Carter, Andy Apollo, Paul Tinto

Plot: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.


Tagline – Time is the enemy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational

Story: 1917 starts as Lance Corporal Blake (Chapman) is assigned to pick one man, Lance Corporal Schofield (MacKay) to get a new mission from General Erinmore (Firth), their mission is to travel across enemy lines to deliver a message to stop a battalion of soldiers walking into a trap set by the Germans.

The two must travel at speed, with time against them, walking into the unknown, knowing they need to get to the battalion to hopeful save the soldiers including Blake’s own brother.

Thoughts on 1917

Characters – We do only focus on two main soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake whose brother is in one of the battalions the two are trying to stop attacking, he is more of a talking, can’t wait to get home, very close to his family, while Lance Corporal Schofield has been in the war longer, seen more horrors, keeps his horrors to himself and isn’t as excited about return home, for his own reason, which we learn through the journey. The two must work together to try and get to the battalions, each step is taking them to the unknown, needing to prepared for anything. We do meet other military people, whose job is to help the two continue their journey if they cross paths.

PerformancesGeorge MacKay is brilliant, proving yet again this guy is one of the best rising stars in the industry today, while Dean-Charles Chapman is excellent too, they two do have chemistry that shows off both their strengths in the characters they are playing.

StoryThe story follows two soldiers that must travel into no man’s land in an attempt to try and stop an attack, which would see thousands of soldiers walking into an ambush. The story is kept very simple, it is showing as if we are following the two’s every step, seeing each obstacle they must face along the way, which shows the different horrors of war. We don’t get overly close to the two soldiers, while learning a little bit, not having a cheery conversation like other war films. This is one story that is easy to follow, we get the music which prepares us for anything that happens, as well as having a chance to keep us guessing about if, or how they get to their destination.

WarWhen it comes to the war side of the film, we get to see the environment the men would have been living between the fights, the surroundings that would have been left in the aftermath of the battles.

SettingsThe film shows the war effects on the land, we see the destroyed town, the claustrophobic trenches, the fear of no man’s land, it is beautiful and haunting to see the settings.


Scene of the Movie – The line run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sometimes the camerawork can leave us losing our position in the scenes.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best war films you will ever see, it is shot like one take, which makes us follow their journey, adding the tension to every single moment of the film.

Overall: Simply Breath Taking.

K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating