Denial (2016) Poster

(II) (2016)

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It was interesting?
LawLess394 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What hit me was the line by Tom Wilkinson - "Why has there not been a proper scientific study of this whole site…by reputable scientists…fifty years after the fact?" That's a good - and fair - question.

These 'Holocaust' driven movies never fail to leave me a little empty. I do understand that exact numbers (body count) is near impossible to compile. However ... usually what is left out ... or mentioned vaguely ... is the other 5-7 million non-Jews murdered by the NAZI's. Why is that? Do they not count? Should they not be remembered too? Anyway ...

I'm not clear on what this movies was representing ... The legal system in the UK? ... David Irving is a convicted liar (in the UK)? ... The (many) lunatics lose in our society? Clearly (if the movie is accurate) David Irving set out to use this case as means to 'spotlight' (market?) his re-engineered history. Is this what we are to walk away with? Or is it that he failed? At best this should, at least, get some open - honest - exchanges on this subject? After all ... 'Eugenics' isn't going away and this does need to be exposed?
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Syrupy~A Non Conformist Historian Is Misrepresented
fionadp26 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a pathos laden,syrupy melodramatic Hollywood film.The film's portrayal of the historian David Irving is highly distorted,he is depicted as a pompous,ranting & raving buffoon with a speech impediment.Exaggeration and crude simplification is employed in order to ignore the real nuances.Obviously Timothy Spall was under pressure to characterize Irving as a baddie but the spluttering caricature he offers up is of someone who barely resembles a functioning human being.Usually an actor becomes very sympathetic to their character during their research and preparation & that is what enables them to bring the character to life. Sadly with this role Spall is overly anxious to let the audience know 'I do not care for this stigmatized person' and because of this psychological need to distance himself from Irving, his acting is bad, it is uncharacteristically one dimensional.

Viewers need to bear in mind that this was a libel trial and it was not a test of historical truth as the movie is claiming. Irving,a famous best selling author,started having problems getting book contracts after the academic Deborah Lipstadt wrote about him giving him the Orwellian label of '"denier". He began to be blacklisted and his income was suffering and his response was to seek some justice.Deborah Lipstadt had at her disposal a multi million dollar team of lawyers paid for by Steven Spielberg and his foundation,so this was not a 'fair fight'...from the outset there was never a realistic chance of lone litigant David Irving succeeding with his legal action.

This movie is mind-numbingly boring and generic.The question we should all be asking ourselves is: why do people still bother paying to see Hollywood films when the vast majority of them are predictable propaganda.The movie relies on straw man fallacy. Strawman or stick man is the term used when someone constructs a more easily defeated version of his opponent's position to attack, rather than addressing his real arguments.The fallacy itself is comparable to defeating a dummy version, then claiming you have defeated an actual opponent.

Denial contrasts duality, the socially respected heroine encounters a shadowy villain. Lipsdat is being portrayed as defenseless in the presence of danger, as if an ogre is stalking a maiden in distress. Horror movies often utilize this theme,when a menacing mad man attacks a defenseless victim. Screen writers are aware this usually elicits a primal response in an audience.Irving is thoroughly demonized and the Zionist Deborah Lipstadt is portrayed as a heroine.That ridiculous Oswald Mosley-esque scene where he is rabble raising a bunch of neo- Nazis into a hate filled frenzy was not true to life at all,it was a gross misrepresentation of reality.In real life Irving is softly spoken,lucid,eloquent, and very precise in how he explains his views.After watching this film,buy his books, upload his lectures and make the effort to properly understand the complexities of this issue.

This film is based on what is known as an 'overcoming the monster' theme - this is a common & predictable archetypal theme in storytelling.

(1) Heroine becomes aware of a monster (Irving is depicted as evil personified-an irrational beast) (2) The ordeal begins (legal action initiated) (3) She prepares to fight the monster (legal team assembled) (4) Heroine and her trusty helpers become frustrated and scared of the monsters power (Irving is coherent in court) (5) Monster is defeated and the treasure is won (Irving loses his case)

Monstering is an 'othering' theme that is often found in political literature.It's used to signal to people that there is some kind of threat to established rules/norms that demands the confirmation and protection of authorised values.

I found some of the dialogue in this movie rather concerning. Lipsdadt: "What do you think Anthony?"

Anthony: "What do I think? I thought it was the most boring morning that that we've had in court so far."

Lipstadt: "My God, you love to be contrary"

Anthony: "Well the man's an anti-Semite and a racist. It's like having (censored) on your shoe. You wipe it off, you don't study it."

Linguistically reducing a man to the level of a biological function is incredibly mean spirited and spiteful.Unfortunately there is excessive black and white reasoning in this movie. I'm specifically concerned about the amount of polarization used.Turning perceived tormentors into cartoon villains ignores their humanity.

This film is based on the stark polarity of 'right wrong' 'saint sinner' 'good bad'-with no in between.There is no mature analysis. Irving is relentlessly derided - this demonstrates an immature primitive reasoning- dichotomizing people into all good and all bad encourages an us versus them mentality. In real life there is never a grand dividing line between us and them.

The following are the core elements that are being perpetuated..... Indignation...Intense dislike...Negative binary stereotyping...A Total lack of any empathy for the hated man...An Underlying tone of sneering hostility.

Demonizing people may be gratifying,in a primitive way. Put very succinctly - insulting & belittling others can make people feel better about themselves, but ultimately its very isn't constructive.Viewers are manipulated into agreeing that the bad guy is 'all bad' they are being manipulated into despising him. Negative Binary Stereotyping is appealing - it's quick to understand and extremely easy for the brain to process however the more discerning viewers will quickly realize that real life is more complex.
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A highly satisfying viewing experience.
kitellis-9812111 July 2018
An extremely well executed drama, without a single pointless or wasted scene.

No part of this production drew attention away from the story - which was focused on with laser intensity - so although the cinematography was excellent and atmospheric, there was no flashy camerawork or eye-catching visuals; nor did the music ever overwhelm the dialogue or leave you humming a prominent leitmotif; and the editing was crisp, straightforward, and business-like.

The performances were uniformly exquisite, with each actor playing their role with subtlety, nuance, and verisimilitude. There were plenty of opportunities for hammy moments, but to their credit, and the credit of the director, each actor played their part with skilful restraint. In the more emotional scenes, their passions seethed mostly beneath the surface, which all added to the emotional investment of the viewer, forced on occasion to experience the enormity of events far more than if everything had been done for them by the actors. This is a sign of truly skilful and confident directing, as well as a rare example of a modern movie trusting its audience to think and feel what they are meant to, without leading them round by the nose.

Overall, this was a thoroughly satisfying viewing experience, that left just the right cocktail of aftertastes on the intellectual/emotional palate.

From the number of negative reviews of this film, and its low IMDB rating, I can only conclude that there are still a worrying number of anti-Semites and holocaust deniers out there, as there is very little in it to complain about technically or creatively.
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Mick Jackson's TV experience truly shows...
Ethan Hecht30 August 2017
For Denial, the most shocking thing about this film was that it was made in 2016. Everything about the camera work is so bland and uninspired at introducing Professor Deborah Lipstadt that if enough context was removed this film could literally be about any female professor that's liked by her students.

The initial barrage of Professor Lipstadt's routine is a series of extremely bland cuts from organically lit shot to organically lit shot, and in that barrage the blandness emerges. The trope of the beloved professor is so shoehorned in to create a character for Prof. Lipstadt that I feel completely alienated from the character at large. Denial's pacing alone is so bizarre at jumping to the lawsuit that I'm wondering why I should care about a story fighting Nazism. Jackson feels as though he's done enough to make me empathize with Prof. Lipstadt by showing me at the 14 minute mark how she'll be fighting an uphill legal battle. Around the 19 minute mark, Jackson choses to actively waste our time with an extremely unoriginal rainy London sequence to establish that she has arrived, and even though it's a minute long it's failure of purpose makes it stand out so belligerently. Rachel Weiss' acting as Lipstad feels so inorganic that I am completely skeptical and extremely bored by lines meant to be inspirational as "my mother always said there was gonna be an event. That I was picked out, I was chosen… well here it is." (16:01) That alone is one of many lines that seems to have been taken verbatim from a book. Denial at large is a very aggressively okay film, and at large it seems as though the only thing it's missing is commercial breaks. A quick look through Denial's director's past works shows that the vast majority of his experience prior to his 2016 film is in television. Denial's entire goal of presenting an uphill battle for truth against hate, with it's recurring shots of stairs among other grandiose imagery of rising above, fails so spectacularly entirely because of it's pacing and strange dipping in and out of Documentarian nature.

If a film tells me that it's "based on true events" then why on earth is it showing me meaningless dates and times? Saying your movie is "based on true events" is the most blatantly lazy form of opening a film beyond subtitles showing location and narration, which this film also does. Denial if anything seems in denial of the fact that it's not an HBO series, but a film.
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A stinker only saved by Timothy Spall
markgbullen21 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Rachel Weitz gives one of the worst performances you'll ever see and is out-acted in every scene. A real stinker of a film, that comes across more like a cheap, made for TV, court room drama than a proper movie. Only Timothy Spall comes out of it with any credit, how this could be mentioned as a possible Oscar nominee is madness, worst film I've seen all year.
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Flat, monochromatic treatment of dramatic subject
Michael Wehle8 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
While Denial is easy to watch and not particularly boring I found it also unrewarding. The story is a compelling one, especially if one has a strong interest in history and is familiar with the epistemological questions raised. Denial, however, allows for little nuance and no tension, making for a monochromatic experience.

The film's characters are portrayed as each having but a single dimension. Deborah Lipstadt is the crusading Holocaust historian. Of her the audience learns that she's got a Queens accent, goes jogging, loves her dog, but little else. What prompted her to teach this subject? Why publish a book about denial? By way of explanation the film offers that her mother named her Deborah. There is a similar lack of substance to each of the other characters. We are told David Irving's Holocaust denial stems from his childhood in WW II but nothing is said of what motivates him, and nothing of his work on issues such as Dresden or the naval action which saw his father sunk. Anthony Julius is accused of being after his own aggrandizement, but there's nothing in the film to suggest this or to suggest that the viewer should care what his motivations are.

The plot arc is as simple as the characters. Lipstadt is introduced and accused of libel and then for the remainder of the film we watch her legal team go about her defense. With Irving wild-eyed and unpleasant, the Lipstadt team noble and hard-working, there is little doubt of the outcome, even if the viewer is unfamiliar with the case. The one moment of dramatic tension comes at the close of the trial, when a question from the judge seems to throw Lipstadt's defense off balance. While the audience seems intended to worry, at this point with Irving so thoroughly distasteful and Lipstadt and company so noble, dedicated, and devoted to such good wines there can be little doubt of the trial's outcome.

Steven Spielberg is referred to towards the end of the film, and indeed there is a Spielbergesque quality to several scenes, especially the visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau. It is winter. The camp is deserted and frosty with snow. Lipstadt is upset that her lawyers are not sufficiently respectful of the dead. The film's score, the ghostly images of victims descending the gas chamber stairs, a technical expert's injunction to step carefully because the site is hallowed ground, all hammer home to the viewer what must be felt, lest one mistakenly have an illusion of choice. Likewise in the closing scenes Lipstadt goes jogging and triumphantly stands before a female statue. Atop the plinth the camera holds on Winged Victory. At this point my date leaned over to quip that this was in case we weren't clear on what had happened. When a film's devices are chuckled at this is an indication they are perhaps not effective.

Curiously Denial presents Lipstadt's triumph as what she did not do, rather than what was done. At one point a question of conscience is introduced in the person of a Holocaust survivor who demands to testify on behalf of those who did not survive. Lipstadt assures her that she'll have her day in court, despite Julius & Co.'s decision that there will be no survivor testimony (strictly for the survivors' good we are told, as Irving would tear them apart). Lipstadt is torn, and argues for the survivors but in the end she and they must remain silent. Lipstadt's lack of contribution to her own defense is underscored by several exchanges with Julius where she forcefully gives guidance yet is brushed off. Julius and colleague Richard Rampton obviously know what they are doing as they win Lipstadt's case, but the dynamics involved are such that Lipstadt's closing lecture left this viewer a bit confused. We shouldn't be so quick to claim what we'd have done in the place of Germans faced with the Holocaust, Lipstadt's college students hear. In the face of public obloquy fighting evil is hard work they are told. So the right thing to do to resist genocide is to remain silent while one's high-powered lawyers argue in civil court? I left Denial feeling less roused to action than I might have.
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awfully biased and utterly one sided with some good acting.
liamneeson-8520615 August 2017
the movie is poorly written with a soul intention of defaming one person and possibly to show what happen to holocaust deniers. the makers of the movie didn't realize that the people who knew nothing or have very little knowledge about holocaust actually will become more skeptic rather than sympathetic.

i am not a sympathizer of David irving and frankly i never knew him before this movie. watching this movie one thing was clear, the writer was clearly biased against David irving by not showing his part of argument.

the movie was based on a case which was carefully constructed by powerful lawyers team against one defenseless person and their strategy to proving him a liar instead of countering his claim with facts. at the end of the trial all they managed to prove that Irving was an anti-semite and did manipulate the fact but the point of whether holocaust actually happened or not remain a question.

i watched this movie hoping that there will be trials based on facts to prove and historical event but sadly i am very disappointed.

the only good thing about the movie is the acting of lead actors. Rachel weisz was exceptionally good. Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall and Andrew Scott did a good job
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eric-312-41747618 April 2018
What a horribly miscast, pandering, less-than- lifetime-quality mess of a movie. RW is so awful in this film, and the directing so poor, I don't think anyone could have brought any dignity or believability to this mess. This obnoxious, self-righteous, narcissistic woman who's "from queens" (just when you thought the film couldn't get any worse, this line rears it's ugly head) Is such a horrible stereotype that she should be on trial herself. The survivors deserve better and so do the filmgoers. Now I just have to deny that this movie ever existed.
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jerrycoliver9 January 2017
I think someone else said "generic" and that is the most accurate description of this film.

I think the story is interesting (in real life) but not every real life event should be turned into a movie, and this is probably one of those events. The holocaust is a travesty, but this movie shouldn't have been made.

First off, the dialogue is absolutely horrible. Every scene feels like forced exposition rather than a genuine communication between characters. This is why half the main character's lines are questions, we're just being told what questions we should be asking and then told the answer.

Second, why spend so much time talking about how silly the British system of law is. That's just offensive.

Third, the hero is never in any sort of jeopardy. From the outset she's afforded a high price team of lawyers and she's going up against a person who's so poor he has to represent himself.

Fourth, they spend a whole lot of time speculating and assuming how nasty the villain is and what he'll do if he has the opportunity to interrogate a holocaust survivor, yet we never actual see him do anything horrible. In a movie, you have show why the villain is bad, not say why he's bad, or speculate why he's bad.

Fifth, there's so much build up of trying to get the holocaust survivors on the stand to testify, yet, the main character never makes a decision to not put them on the stand. That's a big problem in a story if the main character never learns something about them self, never makes any decisions, never changes at all through the whole movie.

Overall the biggest problem with the movie is that the main character isn't likable. I was never cheering for her. Maybe in real life she's great, but in the movie, she bashes a person in a book, then bashes the British legal system, then tells the million dollar lawyers how to argue the case, then bashes the lawyers while waiting for the verdict. She just bashes everyone but does nothing herself.

I had really high hopes for this movie and I can't imagine being more disappointed.
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wow - some haters here
blanche-222 June 2017
Some people seem to have a big problem with this film. I didn't. I found it very interesting and while not mind-bendingly great, it wasn't the horror that it's presented to be in some of these reviews.

"Denial" is based on the book "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier." It is the story of Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weiss) and her legal battle in a libel trial brought by Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall).

In the British legal system, the burden of proof is on Lipstadt, who has maintained in her writings that Spall has fudged certain facts and left out others to make his case that the Holocaust did not happen. Her team, led by Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) and Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) make it clear to the feisty Deborah that they are putting Irving on trial. They are not interested in Holocaust survivor testimony, because they say that Irving will make mincemeat out of them since their memories often aren't perfect. They do not want her to take the stand. The trial is to prove the truth of Lipstadt's writings about Irving.

One of the reviewers wrote that the Irving portrait is highly distorted. The dialogue in the courtroom is verbatim from the actual transcripts. You tell me if this man is a Jew-hating racist or not and if he in fact misrepresented facts to fit his agenda. No one said he didn't have a right to believe what he believed, to make jokes about other races during speeches, to teach his daughter racist songs, make fun of the Holocaust, and write his opinions. But he brought the lawsuit because he was accused of distorting facts, no one else did.

The most moving scene was the team's visit to Auschwitz, very well photographed and movingly acted.

The acting was sensational, though I have to admit that Rachel Weisz did overplay at certain points. She is a wonderful actress, and having seen her in person in "Betrayal," I can testify that she's unbelievably gorgeous in person. But the director could have toned her down a little in some scenes. Andrew Scott is one of the finest young actors around, and he's brilliant as always. Tom Wilkinson is perfection as Richard Rampton.

Why this film should have incited such awful comments on this board is beyond me. It's a movie. If you want to know more about Holocaust denial, read up on it. Read up on Irving. See if you think his character was distorted. Everyone knows films use dramatic license.

Denial is not perfect. It has some clichés, it has the David v. Goliath thing going - and yes, none of that is new. But it doesn't deserve to be trounced on like a work of Satan.
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Let's Hear It For The Lion and the Unicorn!
Dan1863Sickles22 November 2016
This movie really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean it really gave me the creeps. I respect the subject matter, and I understand its importance, yet somehow the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and I'm not sure why.

Well, the first thing that rubbed me the wrong way was Rachel Weisz doing an American accent. It was awful! I've lived in New York all my life, and I've got plenty of Jewish friends and family, but I never met anyone who talks like Rachel does in this movie. If you want to hear a good Jewish American accent, watch the Comedy Central show SOUTH PARK and listen to Kyle's mom, Sheila Broflovski. That's an authentic NY Jewish accent!

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Rachel Weisz wasn't really trying to get the accent right. She's just doing a really, really bad Julia Roberts imitation. What you're getting is a bored Beverly Hills drone, with just a hint of trailer park meanness underneath. Evidently someone in England thinks this is what authentic Americans sound like. And every time the "authentic American" has to deal with well-educated English people, she reacts like Julia Roberts in a typical Julia Roberts movie. In other words, she's sullen, rude, disrespectful, impatient and childish. Because that's how all Americans behave . . . we're a nation of spoiled film stars!

But there's more to this than harmless fun at the expense of the Yanks. The American woman has to be vulgar, childish and impulsive, because how else can the ladies and gentlemen of the English courts and the English universities be revealed (once again, as in countless films before) as universally wise, patient, and just? They're so cool they have to smoke and drink in every scene . . . just to remind us that they're human!

That's what this movie is really about. DENIAL is not really about exposing the truth about what actually happened to Jews during the Holocaust. It's about covering up the truth about how the British monarchy, the British aristocracy, and the British professional classes responded to the Holocaust . . . while it was actually taking place.

What we get here is justice after the fact. One creepy guy gets treated like a leper, to prove that the "right" sort of people were on the side of the Jews all along. Except they weren't.

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. What people forget is that in 1939, Britain then issued a White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine – on the eve of the Holocaust – to a paltry 75,000 souls over five years. They forget, too, that as late as 1947, British troops at Haifa dock were locking Holocaust survivors who had escaped to Palestine in barbed wire cages, and then shipping them back to displaced persons camps in Germany.

There were plenty of British aristocrats (like Unity Mitford) who openly admired Hitler, plenty of British fascists (like Oswald Mosley) who hated Jews, and plenty of ordinary British people who just wanted to avoid another war with Germany at any cost. And by the time they stopped avoiding it, it was already too late for a lot of people.

But that's not worth remembering . . . let's all dog pile the guy doing the really bad Captain Bligh imitation.

He's not one of us . . . and he never was!

By the end of the picture, even the smart-mouthed Jewish lady from New York is only too happy to bow down before the Lion and the Unicorn. Because English justice and right-thinking (read educated, upper class) British people will always save the day.

Except when they don't.
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burden of proof
David Ferguson6 October 2016
Greetings again from the darkness. Guilty until proved innocent. It's a concept that is inconceivable to Americans, yet it's the core of British Law in libel cases. When once respected British historian David Irving accused American scholar and educator Deborah Lipstadt of libel, based on her book that accused him of being a Holocaust denier, the burden fell to Lipstadt to prove not just that Irving's work was a purposeful lie, but that the Holocaust did in fact take place.

This is the first theatrical release in about 15 years for director Mick Jackson, who is best known for his 1991 L.A. Story and 1992 The Bodyguard, and for his Emmy-winning 2010 TV movie Temple Grandin. The script is adapted, from Deborah Lipstadt's book, by playwright David Hare (The Reader, 2008), and the courtroom dialogue is taken directly from trial records and transcripts. Like most courtroom dramas, the quality relies heavily on actors.

Rachel Weisz plays Ms. Lipstadt with a brazen and outspoken quality one would expect from a confident and knowledgeable Queens-raised scholar. Timothy Spall bravely takes on the role of David Irving, a pathetic figure blind to how his racism and anti-Semitism corrupted his writings and beliefs. Tom Wilkinson is the barrister Richard Rampton who advocates for Ms. Lipstadt and Penguin Books in the libel suit brought by Mr. Irving. Andrew Scott plays Andrew Julius, the noted solicitor who also handled Princess Diana's divorce from Prince Charles. Others include Caren Pistorius as an idealistic member of the legal team, and Alex Jennings as Sir Charles Gray – the sitting judge for the case.

Of course for any sane human being, it's beyond belief that a Holocaust denier could achieve even a modicum of attention or notoriety, much less have the audacity to bring suit against a scholar who simply published descriptions of that denier's own words. Rather than come down to fact vs opinion, a more fitting title would be opinion based on fact vs opinion based on a lie. If the words used against Irving in Lipstadt's books are true, she would win the case. In other words, she had to prove that he was a racist, an anti-Semite and knowingly misrepresented the facts in his works as a Holocaust denier.

Mr. Jackson's film begins with Ms. Lipstadt as a professor in 1994 at Emory University (where she remains employed to this day). In 1996, the lawsuit is filed, and in 1998, Lipstadt and Rampton visit Auschwitz. Though the courtroom drama and corresponding legal work takes up much of the film, it's this sequence filmed at Auschwitz that is the heart and soul of the film. Very little melodrama is added … the scenes and the setting speak for themselves.

The trial finally started in 2000, and as always, it's fascinating to compare the British court of law and process with that of the United States. The formality is on full display, but nuance and showmanship still play a role. The film and the trial ask the question … are you a racist/anti-Semite if you truly believe the despicable things you say/write? This is the question that the judge wrestles with (and of course, "Seinfeld" had a spin on this when George stated "It's not a lie, if you believe it").

It's been a rough movie week for me with the Holocaust and slavery (The Birth of a Nation), but it's also been a reminder of just what wicked things people are capable of, and how current society continues to struggle with such inexplicable thoughts. Kudos to Ms. Weisz, Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Spall for excellent performances, and to Mr. Hale for the rare inclusion of a Chappaquiddick punchline.
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Had so much potential - like watching a trainwreck
artmania901 February 2017
"Denial" attempts to bring to the screen two of the Oscars' favorite genres: courtroom & Holocaust dramas. The story is prime: that of a woman who was taken to court over her statements about a Holocaust denier, claims that allegedly tarnished his reputation as a notable historian. The woman in question, Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), an American, was brought to an English court in the late 1990's to prove her case: that the denier, David Irving (Timothy Spall), knowingly altered the facts to support his own beliefs. In America, the defense is innocent until proved guilty. In England, the burden of proof in fact falls on the defendant. Stuck in court with years of preparation, Lipstadt simply has to prove one thing: that the Holocaust actually happened.

Thus is the set up for what could have been a brilliant movie about thinking minds and the the nature of historians and differing views. In a time when the Holocaust is in danger of becoming a clichéd topics to garner awards and praise, the trailer for "Denial" looked nothing short of eye-opening.

History is a broad topic, breathtaking when captured effectively and dreadfully dull when it goes wrong. This is a movie where they got it wrong. Lipstadt (played by Weisz with perhaps the worst American accent we have seen on film in years) is the heroine this movie doesn't deserve. We meet her as a professor who teaches passionately about the nature of World War II and the losses it accrued. A Jew herself, the Holocaust is a passion of hers. People who refute evidence as candidly as David Irving are simply not worth her time. When faced with Irving, Lipstadt freezes, becomes argumentative, can't prove her point. The next time they meet is in court, where she promises that she will not testify. In order to win the case, she must remain impartial.

Her defense team is made up of a team of lawyers and scholars, the leader of which is Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), who is a calculated criminal lawyer who knows his facts but can't grasp the emotions of the case itself. Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) is the would-be villain who wants to win the case but in the process loses all sense of respect for the survivors of such tragedy. It's a crack team, indeed.

The problems with the movie are vast, but they are rooted in the simple fact that Timothy Spall as David Irving is simply the more compelling character, regardless of him being the villain. How wrong it is for someone to so plainly deny the events of the 1940's that led to millions of deaths, but Irving is played as a man who still lives honestly, presents plain facts, and seems to truly believe that he is in the right. Weisz on the other hand plays her role like a whiny girl who can't get a word in and is simply a hindrance to the plot. For a movie so devoted to this one woman's story, boy is she an annoying person to get to know.

The court scenes themselves are small fragments of the 8-week trial that offer little insight into the actual arguments themselves. A brief snippet here and a tiny sentence here. The movie is padded so vigorously with fluff that by the time the verdict is read we are truly too tired to care and too distracted to have any real reaction. There is a good movie in here somewhere, and many will recall this case making the international news no more than 10 years ago. It would start with a new writer, a new cast, and a new director... In fact, with so many garbage movies being remade nowadays, here's a worthy candidate.
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More for your ears not your eyes.
Quietb-11 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
if you like talkie courtroom dramas this is for you. It deals with important issues but so much is said and so little is shown this book adaptation might have worked better as a play.

The male performances are excellent and there might be award consideration for the male leads. Rachael Weisz is capable of better. There is a forced American accent that is more annoying then authentic. Her lawyers asked her not to speak in court, that was the only place she didn't talk.

The score is forgettable and adds nothing to the movie. The crowd scenes outside the courthouse seemed staged.

The movie is in limited release and does not need the big screen. It will play well on home platforms and seem like a very good made for TV movie.
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Propaganda piece ... too bad.
Chris Emerson3 August 2018
I don't necessarily agree with the views on either side of the true-story here .. but this movie being more propaganda than true-story/drama made it unwatchable for me 20 minutes in. If they had made this more true to life it could have been a great film. Instead they made the author a goofy-looking, bumbling idiot (which he is not) and the leading character an attractive heroine ... obviously intended to shape people's opinions of the story and people involved. Too bad.
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Prejudiced Negative Reviews Bring the Overall Rating Down
yorkhouse-118 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Rating this film is a complex issue. If you read the very negative reviews and read between the lines, you will discern that those reviewers are politically-motivated. They are not rating the film; they are rating its message, that message being that the holocaust did happen and it was monstrous.

This film is well-written, well-acted, and well-directed. It has some of the best one-liners I've heard in a long time -- only some of which have shown up on IMDb's 'Quotes" section.

The thing I most enjoyed was the conflict between Ms. Lipstadt (the American defendant in the libel suit) and her team of Britian's best lawyers. Her passion vs. their logic. Her desire to be heard, vs. their desire to win. And they were both on the same side. Oh, the angst!

Such a shame that this film didn't get a wide release at the theaters. I found it by accident, looking for something to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I wish I'd seen it in a theater, but I wasn't aware of its existence until it was way too late to view it on a big screen. How did this riveting tale escape the notice of the general public?

Watch it and tell others to do the same. It's too good to pass up.
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Cliché-ridden dross ruins a potentially useful experience
geoffthepianist-7639917 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I should say right off the bat I stopped watching at about 30 minutes in. The reason I did so was that I became convinced that I would learn absolutely nothing about the real details of the court case that it depicts, which for me is a major motivation in watching any historical or legal drama.

The doubt really began to set in when Weisz's character meets her English legal representative, who assures her that "There is no presumption of innocence in UK law" - almost a direct quote and a total misrepresentation of the facts. This kind of childish side-swipe might please some Americans in the audience, but precious few thinking ones, I would hope, especially given the subject matter of the movie.

We are then shown her arriving in London in the pouring rain (of course) to meet her legal team of pompous stuffy Brits, who swiftly move her to righteous and strident anger (her character's Americanism firmly established thereby), over their apparently dishonest and underhand choice of defence strategy, and deliberate decision not to admit evidence from sufferers of the Holocaust. She cares deeply, they don't, we are led to believe.

At this point it became clear to me that all I would be served up would be cardboard cut-outs parading around in a fake England, and the result would be neither enjoyable nor educational. A waste of time.
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There was a good movie somewhere in there waiting to happen, but it didn't
GuineaPig20 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Instead we got a merely OK effort. The movie is not actually bad, it has interesting moments and a clever inter-textual message that relates to current events but sadly I can't ignore that it leaves the message it tries to transmit feeling empty, defeated and overused.

The movie talks about a dispute between historians and it's based on true events. One historian, a Jew, writes a book about Holocaust denialists and calls the second historian antisemitic and racist because he denies the Holocaust happened. The second historian sues the first and the movie is mainly about the trial, both the preparation for it and the execution.

Now the movie cleverly tries to illustrate an issue that is very fresh in the collective minds of the public currently and that is fake news, populism, etc etc. The second historian, the populist, is portrayed as the loud person who loves to engage others in debate and listen to himself talking. He is immune to facts, data, reason, anything that goes against his discourse. The first historian, or at least her defending team of lawyers, champion calmness, methodical and surgical engaging, silence and reason over loudness and emotion.

The thing is that, even if reason can prevail on a trial, reality shows that the populist will most likely win just because he can't lose at all and, in the end of the movie, something like that is hinted at but it is never developed as a plot point, instead it's rapidly dismissed. And I think that exploring this aspect would have been very interesting at least because that's one of the main concerns about what to do with populism nowadays.

Another issue I have with the whole point the movie is trying to convey is that the main attack against the populist is that his racism and antisemitism makes him an unreliable and dishonest historian. But the irony of it all is that the first historian is portrayed as a Jew that is highly emotionally involved on her work to the point that she can't think rationally most of the time when trying to discuss the issues at hand. In other words the main argument against the populist is also the main argument against the supposed rational side. This is defeating for the movie because the argument in the end is unconvincing and weak. If the movie was trying to make an argument in favor of the truth I feel that it weakened it instead. Granted it also can be seen as a very realistic situation that happens all the time, in the end we are all humans and emotional judgments are what we do best so maybe the movie was trying to show us the flawed nature of what we understand as truth and reason?? I'm not sure but it didn't seem so at least.

Finally another issue I have unrelated particularly to this actual movie is the excessive focus on cinema towards the Holocaust, 2nd WW, Hitler, etc. Granted it was a very traumatizing time and any sensible person agrees that the Holocaust shouldn't have happened and that it was a shameful moment in human history. But I can't help but feel that the continuous outrage of Hollywood towards this tragedy is dishonest at best. When will Hollywood make a movie about the suffering of the Palestinians under the oppression of Israel which is a current tragedy and a highly ironic one given that the Israelis are also in denial of how their government is doing atrocious things. This makes me think that Hollywood gets a phony sense of selective outrage at some tragedies, mainly those that pay their salaries.
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vonneumann0927 February 2017
I was very much looking forward for this one. Apart from my interest in philosophy, which I think this story touches a great deal on, the content about what the story is saying is by itself important and intriguing. We live in a world that is full of shades of truth and lie, but there are things that simply aren't up for debate. That's what we call facts, be them historical facts or empirical facts. So my expectation was high. And that may have just been too much. Deborah Lipstadt, as played in the movie by Rachel Weisz, is just too affected and dumb to make any sense of. Her lines don't make sense and she is constantly trying to appear just too much involved in the story, but highly unconvincingly. Her acting and scripts are very bad, and they ruin a great part of the movie. You have to constantly keep ignoring her and focus on the story at large to avoid losing interest in the movie completely. It's a shame, because the story has much potential that touches on a lot of important philosophical issues, such as truth, ethics, rights. Indeed, it's a lost opportunity.
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'Denial' is extensively confused in tone, constantly peaking and falling throughout its rushed narrative
Josh Teggert28 February 2017
Rachel Weisz dons an unconvincing American accent to play the accused professor, Deborah Lipstadt, fighting to prove that David Irving (Timothy Spall) is purposefully manipulating historical fact to support his own anti-Semitic views. Clearly, this may be a delicate subject for some, and yet this story is so caught up in the legalities it regularly fails to address this issue. Naturally, it is uplifting in the places where it is supposed to be, but 'Denial' loses its punch by disappointingly being too muddled in its approach, neglecting particular details that could have made it a truly gripping drama.

In an era when the likes of "fake news" and "alternative facts" are looming worryingly pertinent over our polarised society, 'Denial' entails a certain amount of contextual parallels, focussing primarily on, and addressing adequately, the consequences of words. Otherwise, it is a relatively hollow drama, attempting to amplify the puzzling legalities of the situation over-ambitiously. Isolate the context of the Holocaust and the unquestionable relevance of the themes depicted, and 'Denial' falls as yet another juridical drama bogged down in justifying its own existence. It has little substantial impact due to the broadness of the unfolding events and its lacklustre attack at pre-determined consequences, weakening the sharpness of the overarching story.

As well as this, the way the characters are presented truly damages the intended impression, particularly in the behind the scenes moments where the essence of the case is being discussed. Rachel Weisz comes across as a whiny and useless figurehead of the case, desperate to have her voice heard. It doesn't help that she is wearing an awful orange mop for a wig that shifts in texture and colour throughout the film's course, presumably due to re-shoots (I'm having flashbacks to Obi-Wan Kenobi in 'The Phantom Menace'). Andrew Scott portrays the inordinately-determined lawyer Anthony Julius in about ten separate manners, adding to the confusion of the feature's tone; Tom Wilkinson has some great moments in the courtroom as the team's leader Richard Rampton, but these do not come in the required quantity or quality to heighten the interest in the film. It is Irving who is the most compelling character in the end, thanks to Spall's charismatic performance which inflicts the only shred of emotion in this film, that being an appropriate distaste towards Irving's case, yet this is not enough to save 'Denial' from the depressingly unsatisfying end result.

It's one of those movies that might have been more suitable to be presented on the small screen, stretched over a longer time period thus allowing it to explore the tortuous legal fight in greater detail, whilst also allocating more time to handle the nature of the situation with greater prominence. Instead, Lipstadt's book on which the film is based, 'Denial: The Holocaust on Trial', is forced to settle for a fundamentally rushed and disarrayed adaption, that unfortunately showcased its best moments in its exhilarating trailer.
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Gordon-1118 January 2017
This film tells the story of a American Jewish female author, who is sued for libel by a historian who believes that the Holocaust did not happen. She has to prove that the Holocaust happened, and that the historian lied with intention.

When I first heard from my friend about the story of this film, I let out a loud disbelief. I cannot quite believe that people have to prove that the Holocaust happened in the court. Hence, I was captivated by the story right from the start, hoping to see the ins and outs of the story. The courtroom drama is riveting and engaging, and culminates in an emotional climax. Thanks for bringing this ridiculous court case to the film screen, as I otherwise would not have known about it.
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A boring approach to a very interesting subject
ReganRebecca5 January 2017
What is it about court cases that TV always gets so right and movies always get so wrong? Denial, a film about an exceptional British libel case in which defendant Deborah Lipstadt had to prove the Holocaust, somehow manages to strip the integrity and interest off of this very exceptional case and make it dry as dust and dull, feeling like more like a TV show, though I've seen many hour long procedural that have managed to stir up more emotion in me.

We first meet Deborah (Rachel Weisz sporting a red wig and a loud queens accent), in the early 90s. She's a professor who lectures on the holocaust and she reserves particular venom for holocaust deniers, who she loudly and proudly proclaims she will never debate as she refuses to debate facts, and that the holocaust happened is irrefutable for her.

Deborah is quite happy with the work she does, but David Irving (Timothy Spall, appropriately slimy), is outraged that she has singled out him in particular. Well, it's more of a faux outrage. He uses her to gain publicity, gate-crashing one of her lectures to scream the holocaust never happened and eventually, worming his way into "debating" her, by suing her UK publisher for libel. The twist here is that in British courts, unlike in the U.S., it is the defendant who must prove what they said was true, rather than the plaintiff proving what they sad was false. Deborah is at first flabbergasted, but then heartened as she realizes that settling is not an option and that it is possible that she can prove that Irving is a bigot, not a proper historian once and for all.

The problem is the script which has Deborah lashing out repeatedly at her own legal team for not respecting the survivors and the history repeatedly, even though they tell her repeatedly that to try to "prove" the holocaust happened would be arguing on Irving's terms. Instead they argue that Irving is a bigot, falsely manipulating facts to prove his own theories. Deborah flies in the face of her legal team multiple times, but this has the effect of making her look stupid and arrogant as she fights their very reasonable advice. I also got the impression that the film was trying to make a point about reasoned approaches being important instead of impassioned ones, but it is also very clear that the members of Deborah's legal team care just as much about holocaust survivors and are just as disgusted by Irving but are approaching it a different way and Deborah is making it difficult for them to do their jobs. In their own restrained ways they are just as impassioned about the work they are doing and this really has the effect of making Deborah look silly.

The other thing is that the kind of slow-working case that the defence put on (the trial lasted for over a month), isn't very cinematic. Watching the movie I felt how much I wanted to read Lipstadt's book when this was all over. a movie simply doesn't have the time a book does to really reach into the details of the case and the "highlights" and "victories" seldom feel very cinematic though I'm sure they felt dramatic and wonderful in real life.

I will say that the acting was solid. The three lead actors Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall don't put in career best work, but they are all solid performers and turn in good performances. They are the saving grace in a movie which takes an emotional subject and somehow makes it dull.
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The film Denial puts much more than history on trial!
sandra small8 February 2017
From the celebrated British playwright David Hare the film Denial is the prism through which the rigours of history are questioned and placed on trial, as is academia, the English Criminal Justice System and its elitism.

Indeed, the English Justice System is here compared to the American one with their opposing methodologies of ensuring justice is achieved. It subsequently pays homage to the English Justice System as imperfectly good. By that it's elitist, but democratic and fair according to the film's point of view that is!

Academia is also put on trial by the film. This is accomplished by using British Holocaust denier, and Hitler fan David Irving as a tool by which truth is juxtaposed with postmodern ideas of truth as a subjective phenomena which needs questioning and re-interpreting. As such postmodern ideas of subjective truth of one's own interpretation of it as in this case 'history' is suggested as not merely corrupted but dangerous too. It can lead to all kinds of complications when we question truth!

Other themes in this film include sexism, feminism, racism Zionism, and much more.

This film is multilayered ad highly recommended for those who like to think!
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Well worth seeing
jc1 October 2016
I really thought this movie was terrific. I had never heard of the true story on which it was based. And we were fortunate enough to have a Q and A with Deborah Lipstadt (played in the movie by Rachel Weisz) in person after the movie. It was an interesting movie on several levels since it was about fighting in court against a holocaust denier who is suing Deborah a holocaust historian and professor, for ruining his reputation. She spends years and millions of dollars fighting to prove that the Holocaust (specifically the gas chambers in Auschwitz existed) It is a frustrating battle since the British libel laws are so different than those in America. It is also a case of denial in that she is denied the right to speak in her defense and have holocaust survivors speak about their experiences, under advice of her legal team. This is a movie about a woman's courage to fight back and to speak the truth.
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JMT20 June 2018
Denial didn't really keep my attention.

It ended up being a court case about a difference in opinion. It was also very heavy-handed in what it wanted you to feel about the holocaust, as if you actually had to emphasise who's side you should be on during the movie.

Round this off with a terrible performance/accent off Rachel Weisz in the lead role and the bland brown/grey of the whole movie and I'm not rushing back to watch this any time soon.
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