Denial – MOVIE REVIEW
Review by Geoff Jenke
“Freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want. What you can’t do is lie and then expect not to be held accountable for it…” Deborah Lipstadt.
This is the basis for the movie Denial. The film is based on the real life book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. The movie recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against David Irving.
Lipstadt published the book in 1993, where she refers to Irving as a denier of the Holocaust. What followed was a bizarre libel suit from David Lindsay. Lindsay sues Lipstadt in the U.K which exploits a quirky British rule that places the burden of proof on the defendant. Her lawyers must prove the genocide against the Jews actually happened.
The scenes filmed at a fog blanketed Auschwitz are confronting and disturbing, but are an integral part of the film.
The movie is based on actual events, and so moves slowly. Many actual court room statements are re-enacted in the film. At times it feels like a made for television movie rather than a big budget film. However the subject matter was interesting, made more so because this actually happened.
Rachel Weisz plays Deborah E. Lipstadt and although born in the U.K. plays the role of an American woman convincingly. Timothy Spall plays David Irving brilliantly. Right from the onset of the movie one gets an ill feeling about the man. It is Tom Wilkinson who steals the show as barrister to Lipstadt. He refuses to have her or Holocaust survivors on the witness box, much to Lipstadt’s dismay. But he has his reasons.
It was a little bizarre watching this movie. The case went for years and cost millions of dollars. One wonders how and why it even got to court.
In the end an excellent well presented and acted movie about the trial of David Irving. Yes, you could just read about it on the internet, but the movie makes it more human. It is worth knowing about this story.
Director: Mick Jackson
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott