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 »
When Lipstadt is in her London hotel room, the shipping forecast is on the radio. We see the time on the clock as 12.42am. The shipping forecast does not air until 12.48am and is never early. 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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I recommend this movie for people who, like me, make time for conspiracy theories despite loathing them. Outside of the interesting "intentionalist versus functionalist" debate, "revisionism" erroneously connotes academic legitimacy. The title is therefore apt.
All the dialogue pertaining to the defense's fascinating legal strategy went over very well with me. That and the much appreciated verbatim courtroom dialogue comprises most of the script. My positive impressions were reinforced by subsequent research into the trial. Denial delves into the sinister practice of Holocaust denialism at its best. I stretched my viewing over several hours and basked in the cerebral delight of it.
Rachel Weisz has been given flak for a performance that did not leave me in want of anything. Though I would not say it was an award-worthy performance, I chalk that up more to the formulaic production than any shortcoming of hers. Tom Wilkinson deserves mention as her character's barrister. Timothy Spall is terrific as David Irving!
This glowing review notwithstanding, Denial has the feel of excellent television, which is no way to compliment a feature film. The defense's true-to-life legal strategy necessarily undercut the film's emotive power. The scenes at Auschwitz itself are therefore especially vital to its success for me. Including London's Boadicea and Her Daughters was a nice touch.
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