After being sent off for angrily contesting a goal as offside, goalkeeper Josef Bloch (Arthur Brauss) wanders aimlessly through a strange town, visiting the local cinema and picking up Gloria (Erika Pluhar), an attractive blonde cinema cashier. Following their night of passion, Bloch arbitrarily strangles her to death, before boarding a coach to visit old flame Hertha (Kai Fischer) in a quiet village on the East/West border.
The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is a somewhat overlooked 1972 film from Wim Wenders that has been taken off the shelf, dusted off, restored and given a cinema release. Based on a novel by Peter Handke, it's an existential delight that owes much to Albert Camus' classic 1942 novel L’Étranger and to Camus' own previous occupation as a goalkeeper with Racing Universitaire d'Alger. Our protagonist has the same emotional detachment as Meursault, the man who felt nothing at his mother's death and who goes on to kill a man in the novel by Camus. Just like him, we're given no explanation for Bloch's homicidal behaviour or why he neither feels nothing at the sight of the body of a missing schoolboy, nor reports his findings to the police.
It's not all heavy existential ennui though; there's a fine streak of bone-dry humour playing out across the film that allows Brauss' otherwise murderous impassive demeanour the opportunity to afford this comic relief with a winning deadpan reaction. However, I could have done without the excessive use of Jürgen Knieper's monotonous score as it really rather began to grate, though I think that perhaps added to the stifling nature of the slow, introspective narrative.