The Golden Glove

12/04/2020 06:04

Film: The Golden Glove (Der goldene Handschuh)

Year: 2019

Director: Fatih Akin

Writer: Fatih Akin

Starring: Jonas Dassler, Margarete Tiesel and Adam Bousdoukos



This was a movie that I kept hearing people talk about watching for 2020. It is from Germany and France where it did get a release theatrically in New York and LA last year, but its wide release in the US wasn’t until January of 2020. I’ve heard some people talking about it being dark and depressing. This seemed to fit what I was looking to do when pairing up for Featured Reviews on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. The synopsis here is a serial killer strikes fear in the hearts of residents of Hamburg during the early 1970s.

We start this off seeing a wall with nude pictures of women. Fritz Honka (Jonas Dassler) comes in and attacks the body that is in bed. He tries to drag it down the stairs, but the noise alerts one of his neighbors. From here, he has to take the body back into his room and removes parts of it. He then throws them in a nearby lot.

They’re discovered and this causes the newspaper to report on it. It is through this we learn that we’re in Hamburg in the 1970s. The movie then shifts us over to a young woman of Petra Schulz (Greta Sophie Schmidt). She is told by her teacher that she isn’t doing her work and will be held back. When she goes to leave, she notices that Willi (Tristan Göbel) used her pump for his bicycle tires. The two of them go to a local café where he buys her a coke. While he’s inside, Fritz lights a cigarette for her. She leaves the two of them there to head home.

Fritz starts to fantasize about her. It is actually pretty creepy since she’s still in high school. He hangs out in a bar called The Golden Glove, where the regulars all have nicknames. Fritz tries to buy most of women there a drink and they all turn it down. That is all of them, but Gerda Voss (Margarete Tiesel). He takes her home where we see that he’s violent. He has issues with impotency. When he cannot get himself erect, he elects to take a wooden spoon to use on her.

Despite how he treats her, she sticks around. Fritz gets her to sign a contract that she will do whatever he says. She also cleans up his place and cooks for him. She even helps host when his brother, Siggi (Marc Hosemann), comes by. I don’t think his brother or the people know the darkside of Fritz. There is a smell coming from a crawlspace to the point where the Greeks that live below him notice it. Fritz is a killer and prays on those that lack confidence enough to come home with him.

It should also be pointed out; Fritz has a bad drinking problem, which isn’t an excuse for what he is doing to women. He tries to get sober and takes on a new job. He falls for a married woman of Helga Denningsen (Katja Studt) while working there and this ends with some disastrous results.

Where I want to start my analysis of the movie is something I touched on in my introduction paragraph. This movie is pretty bleak. We’re following working class people and to be honest, they’re alcoholics too. It appears they make enough money to drink and survive on. The Golden Glove has a tight knit group that is bully like when outsiders come in, for example with Willi.

There isn’t much to life for Fritz. I saw some trivia stating that he was sexually abused as a child. I haven’t pointed out yet but this is based on a real person. The novel is written by Heniz Strunk and this is based off of that. This attack would explain the sexual issues he is experiencing as an adult. There’s a woman later in the movie that laughs at him for his issues, which doesn’t help. He is a sad character though. It makes me feel bad to say, but I find myself a few times feeling sorry for him. I think this is a great thing that this filmmaker can do. We see him as the monster that he is, but he really just wants someone to love him. He has his fantasies for Petra and wants Helga. He’s stunted with issues from childhood to do things the proper way, which I think is an interesting commentary on how boys are raised.

It doesn’t help Fritz is how he looks. He has a lazy eye that appears to go that way when he’s not wearing his glasses. He also has a nose that is misshapen that looks to be due to it being broken. It is wild to see a normal picture of Dassler, as he’s a pretty good looking guy. The make up done to look as odd as he does is credit to the crew and the make up that they did.

What is interesting though is how this story progresses. We see him starting with the disposal of a body so we’re establishing from the beginning that he’s a monster. From there we get to learn more about him, including the issues that he has with women and how he treats them. I feel that is interesting though to humanize through Siggi visiting and his attempt to turn his life around before his final downfall. There is the interesting interactions he keeps having with the Greeks below and how that plays into the ending as well.

I’ll shift over to the effects here as well. They were done practically which is good. They don’t use a lot of them though. There is some viciousness that we know is going on, but we don’t really get to see it. We’re hearing it and what we can see is blocked by things. That didn’t stop me from cringing. The blood we see looks realistic and I think the after effects of wounds are well done. Most of what we really get here is psychological damage though. The beatings are done physically, but seeing the effects they have on the mind is what is powerful here. I also have to give credit here to the cinematography as well.

I should take this to the acting next. I think Dassler does an amazing job at bringing this character to life. I’m not going to go too much into what I already have, but I think we have a perfect combination of writing and performance to make Fritz the tragic monster he is. Tiesel and all of the women he brings home are great as well. I can feel the depression on them. It really does feel like people that are similar to Fritz in their loneliness and despite the fear of a killer out there, they just want someone to be intimate with them. I like Studt in what she brings to Helga. The same can be said for Schmidt for Petra. The acting just in general is well done.

So now with that said, I really ended up enjoying this movie. It isn’t one that is a feel good movie and has a dark look at life. There’s an interesting set up to this movie as we learn about Fritz where we see how horrible he is before he gets humanized and fully becoming the monster that he ends up being. I think the acting from Dassler and those around him really help to bring this story to life. The effects are brutal in a subdued way and done well. I like how the sound design is used there as well. I can’t recommend this to everyone though. You have to like bleak serial killer movies and also be warned, this is in German so I watched with subtitles. If you can get past that and enjoy a movie like this, I’d say this is a good movie, just bordering on great.


My Rating: 8.5 out of 10