The Golden Glove

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The Golden Glove
The Golden Glove.jpg
Original German release poster
Der Goldene Handschuh
Directed byFatih Akin
Written byFatih Akin
Based onDer goldene Handschuh
by Heinz Strunk
Produced by
CinematographyRainer Klausmann
Edited by
Music byF.M. Einheit
Distributed by
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
  • Pathé Distribution (France)
Release dates
  • 9 February 2019 (2019-02-09) (Berlin)
  • 21 February 2019 (2019-02-21) (Germany)
Running time
110 minutes[1][2]
  • Germany
  • France
  • German
  • Greek
Box office$603,434[1]

The Golden Glove (German: Der Goldene Handschuh) is a 2019 internationally co-produced horror drama film[3] directed by Fatih Akin. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] The film is an adaptation of Heinz Strunk's eponymous novel and tells the story of the German serial killer Fritz Honka who murdered four women between 1970 and 1975 and hid their body parts in his apartment. The Golden Glove is named after the pub in the red-light district of Hamburg where the disfigured alcoholic Honka met his victims. The Golden Glove is the first film by Fatih Akin to receive an 18 rating in Germany.[5]


In 1970, alcoholic night watchman Fritz Honka (Jonas Dassler) murders Gertraud Bräuer, a prostitute, in his squalid Hamburg apartment. He carves up the body, getting rid of some parts by throwing them away in a suitcase, while the rest are kept in an improvised locker in his wall. The police find the suitcase but cannot identify the culprit.

In 1974, Fritz observes schoolgirl Petra Schulz (Greta Sophie Schmidt) hanging out with her classmate, Willi (Tristan Göbel). Fritz is mesmerized and begins to fantasize about Petra often. He spends nearly all his free time at The Golden Glove pub, often soliciting prostitutes that reject him in disgust. One night Fritz brings home Gerda Voss (Margarethe Tiesel), a vagrant, who is allowed to pass the night conditional on having sex with him. The next day however, he allows her to stay in exchange for sex and housework, as well as a signed contract of being introduced to her attractive daughter, Rosi.

After having lunch with Fritz's recently divorced brother Siggi (Marc Hosemann), Fritz and Gerda go to the pub to meet Rosi. Gerda finally confesses that Rosi and her are completely estranged and she will not be coming. Outraged, Fritz shatters his glass and begins bleeding. While he is washing himself in the bathroom, an evangelist offers Gerda rehabilitation, and she gladly accepts. With Gerda gone, Fritz approaches three alcoholic women: Inge, Herta, and Anna. As a fight breaks out at the pub, they tag along with him, although Herta passes out on the street and is left lying there. Upon arrival, Fritz asks the women to perform oral sex on each other. While Anna is too drunk to care, Inge refuses and Fritz beats her up, but she manages to escape. To vent out his frustration, Fritz kills Anna by smashing her head against a table. Her body is also quartered and put in the locker.

The following morning, Fritz is run over by a van. He survives and visits the pub for the last time before giving up on drinking altogether. Now consistently sober, he takes up a night shift as a watchman at an office complex. There he meets a cleaner, Helga Denningsen (Katja Studt), whom he finds attractive. Fritz is introduced to Erich, Helga's husband, at her birthday party. Helga reveals that Erich has been unemployed for months and now resorts to leech off her. After sharing a few drinks, Fritz relapses and attempts to rape Helga at their next encounter, but she flees.

Fritz is back at the pub and brings another prostitute, Frida (Martina Eitner-Acheampong), to his home. He beats her up for laughing at his erectile dysfunction. Once Fritz falls asleep, Frida begins robbing the apartment. In retaliation, she rubs Fritz's genitals with spicy mustard. When he wakes up in pain, she kicks him in the groin and insults him. A violent fight breaks out, with Frida being strangled, battered, and cut up by Fritz. In the following days he lures Ruth (Jessica Kosmalla) to his apartment, who suffers the same fate.

One night, Willi convinces Petra to go to The Golden Glove in order to win her over. After unintentionally provoking an older man, Willi is humiliated by being urinated on and locks himself at a stall. When Petra comes in, he refuses to get out and tells her to leave without him. Fritz notices Petra and follows her through the streets, only to discover that his apartment has caught fire. Firefighters find the corpses and Fritz is immediately arrested.



Critical response[edit]

Filmset of tavern Zum Goldener Handschuh

At the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, The Golden Glove received mostly negative reviews from critics.[6][7] Most German critics described it as a failed or inadequate attempt to adapt the novel and criticized Akin for making a nauseating horror film out of Strunk's artistic presentation of the events.[8][9] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Golden Glove holds an approval rating of 54% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. Its consensus reads, "Grim to a fault, The Golden Glove embarks on a well-crafted but deeply unsavory descent into the depraved mind and rank brutality of a serial killer."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."[11]

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw awarded the film two out of five stars, while commending Dassler's performance and technical accomplishments, he criticized the film for its realistic and brutal violence, and felt it was a pointless recreation of the events it depicts.[12] David Ehrlich of Indiewire gave it a D and called it "disgusting" and "one of the most vile serial killer movies ever made."[13] Pat Brown of Slant Magazine called the film "ugly" and "hollow," feeling that the film was "mostly an excuse to stage some unsettling murder scenes in the grimy underbelly of Hamburg."[14] Carlos Aguilar of The Los Angeles Times echoed this sentiment, stating that Akin pushed the film's repulsiveness to its limits, depicting little psychological substance.[15] Ben Sachs from The Chicago Reader called it "virtually unwatchable," panning the film's soundtrack, imagery, and brutal violence.[16] The Austin Chronicle's Richard Whittaker rated the film two and a half out of a possible five stars, noting that the film's brutality, self-awareness, and director Akin's adherence the facts of the case made the film "desperately grueling." Even so, Whittaker praised Dassler's performance and the film's effective depiction of 1970s Hamburg.[17]

Conversely, Spleeny Dotson of Starburst Magazine gave it six out of ten stars, commending the film for effectively capturing "the bleak hopelessness of the seamy side of the 1970s," as well as the makeup design and Dassler's performance. Dotson however, criticized the film's brutal violence as "repetitive and predictable" as well as its failure to explain the reason behind Honka's killings.[18] Bloody Disgusting's Meagan Navarro rated it a score of four and a half out of five, calling it "a marvel of technical filmmaking," praising the film for its editing, production design, makeup effects and Akin's direction.[19]


  1. ^ a b "The Golden Glove (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  2. ^ "The Golden Glove (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Fatih Akin interview on the controversial movie The Golden Glove". The HotCorn. 10 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Selection for Competition and Berlinale Special Completed". Berlinale. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Freigabebescheinigung (German film certificate)". Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  6. ^ Guy Lodge. "Berlin Film Review: 'The Golden Glove'". Variety. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  7. ^ Stephanie Zacharek. "Berlin Film Festival Review: Fatih Akin Loses His Touch with Brutal, Punishing The Golden Glove". Time. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  8. ^ Fabian Wallmeier. "Berlinale-Filmkritik "Der Goldene Handschuh": "Was stinkt denn hier so?"". Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  9. ^ Martin Martin Schlesinger. "Der Goldene Handschuh". Deadline – Das Filmmagazin (in German). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  10. ^ "The Golden Glove". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  11. ^ "The Golden Glove reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  12. ^ Peter Bradshaw. "The Golden Glove review – grisly but pointless true-life serial killer tale". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  13. ^ David Ehrlich. "'The Golden Glove' Review: One of the Most Vile Serial Killer Movies Ever Made — Berlinale". Indiewire. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  14. ^ Brown, Pat (9 February 2019). "Review: The Golden Glove Is an Exploitation Movie in Search of a Message". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  15. ^ Aguilar, Carlos (3 October 2019). "Review: Fatih Akin's serial-killer saga 'The Golden Glove' pushes the limits of repulsion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  16. ^ Sachs, Ben (24 October 2019). "The Golden Glove - Chicago Treader". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  17. ^ Whittaker, Richard (27 September 2019). "The Golden Glove - Movie Review". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  18. ^ Dotson, Spleeny (11 November 2019). "The Golden Glove [Celluloid Screams 2019]". Starburst (magazine). Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  19. ^ Navarro, Meagan (24 September 2019). "Movies [Fantastic Fest Review] 'The Golden Glove' Enters the Pantheon of Disturbing Serial Killer Biopics". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

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