A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.
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Based on the acclaimed book "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier," DENIAL recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt's (Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (Cannes Award winner Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system in Defamation, the burden of proof is on the accused, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. Also starring two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson, the film is directed by Emmy Award winner Mick Jackson ("Temple Grandin") and adapted for the screen by BAFTA and Academy Award nominated writer David Hare (THE READER). Producers are Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff. Written by
Twice in the movie Deborah Lipstadt is shown out jogging in London whereupon she stops to gaze upon the statue of "Boadicea and Her Daughters" on Westminster Pier. Boadicea was famous as a warrior queen who led an unsuccessful uprising against the Romans. See more »
Now, some people are saying that the result of this trial will threaten free speech. I don't accept that. I'm not attacking free speech. On the contrary, I've been defending it against someone who wanted to abuse it. Freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want. What you can't do is lie and expect not to be held accountable for it. Not all opinions are equal. And some things happened, just like we say they do. Slavery happened, the Black Death happened. The Earth is round, the ice caps...
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In the 1980s I saw in Britain the rise of right wing historians. Maybe the study of history has always been subjective, they say it is rewritten by the victors. Now we had right wingers getting increased media airtime to push their agenda. A period where the likes of David Irving would flourish as he was the first to denounce the Stern magazine's publication of the Hitler Diaries as forgeries.
Denial based on true events is adapted by David Hare and directed by Mick Jackson, his return to the BBC after almost 30 years.
American historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) calls David Irving (Timothy Spall) out as a Holocaust denier in a publication and he sues her and her publisher for libel in the English courts. The reason being the burden of proof lies with the accused and the amount of damages were high in England.
Lipstadt had no problems raising funds in America to mount a defence and she employed top lawyers to defend her. Andrew Julius (Andrew Scott) the solicitor dealing with the day to day handling of the case and Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) the barrister who would argue the case in court.
The film has to explain the English legal system and have a narrative of Lipstadt being passionate, wanting to bring survivors of the Holocaust to court to give evidence but getting short shrift from her lawyers who wanted to prepare for the case dispassionately and methodically.
I think the film downplayed the smart move Julius pulled in getting Irving to agree to the case being tried by a Judge alone and not by a jury. The trial judge Charles Gray (Alex Jennings) had been a noted libel lawyer himself.
The lawyers for Lipstadt had to prove that Irving was a racist, anti-Semitic and knowingly twisted the facts about the holocaust in his academic works. Irving's reputation lay in ruins after the trial and rightly so.
The narrative of the film did come across as too much of a 'movie of the week' to me, the film is not riveting enough and at times creaky. The highlight is Tom Wilkinson's masterly performance as the barrister.
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