Denial (2016) Poster

(II) (2016)

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8/10
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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only one reason for this review
smoke022 June 2019
All the reviews complaining about this film being one-sided and unfair and any other idiotic drivel that has to do solely with the subject matter and not the film itself are complete wastes of time. The Holocaust happened, there is no other POV except from anti-Semites, and that's that, so run along and let the intelligent adults read reviews about the film, not your personal racist beliefs.
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9/10
A first-rate legal drama
Arcturus19809 November 2018
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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9/10
Absolutely Superb - Watch It And Judge For Yourself.....
alanhurst16 October 2019
Very well written and executed account of David Irving's unsuccessful libel action against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books. All the more so for the fact that the court exchanges are acted out verbatim - as they actually happened.

Well presented, dramatic and thought-provoking. I could go on at length - as some reviewers, especially the more negative ones, have done - on detailed aspects of this film but would urge anyone reading this to just watch it and judge it for themselves.
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7/10
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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4/10
Mick Jackson's TV experience truly shows...
ethanw-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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9/10
Superb and valuable
nancyldraper17 October 2021
Fantastic, sobering, well crafted and executed account of a true event. The acting was fantastic, the issues were riveting and the story needed to be told. In a world that believes that truth is relative, it is important to be reminded that such a position is harmful to society and dangerous to the future of mankind. If we are willing to rewrite history to distort it for our own purposes we will be forced to relive our mistakes. Everyone should see this movie. I give it a 9.5 (superb and valuable) out of 10. {History Drama}
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8/10
Worth it for the opposing side alone.
I've been intrigued by this movie for many years but always forget to look it up. I found it on Hulu today and was impressed. My main morbid curiosity was watching a holocaust denier defend himself. As I expected, it was embarrassing, which is why he lost the case. He grasped at straws the whole time. I kept waiting to see how he'd crawl out of the hole he'd dig himself. The worst part was the footage of his speaking and people applauding his nonsense. The fact that multiple people like that exist is terrifying. I think people are being cruel to Weisz's performance. Her character was essentially silenced, and she owned every scene she was allowed to express emotion in. Another thing people aren't taking into account is this film was 1998ish. There's too much complaining about the dialogue (all taken verbatim by the way) the style, etc. it is true to the time. It does not take place in 2016. Maybe the most important lesson we learned about this movie is people need to pay better attention.
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1/10
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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8/10
The voice of suffering must be heard
gbill-7487725 January 2019
There's something that feels packaged and glossy here, and maybe a little bit off with Rachel Weisz's character (not sure if it's the role or the performance), but the subject matter, the true story of a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving against historian Deborah Lipstadt is compelling, poignant, and raises important questions. How does one respond to someone whose views are so distorted, whose mind is filled with racist filth, and who spews outrageous lies which stir up rage in both those who believe him and those who are horrified by him? Someone who is so far outside the norm that to engage him is to help mainstream him, but to be silent is to let his views go unchallenged and uncorrected? Someone who will quickly drag you down into the gutter he's in if you're not very careful? These are the questions Lipstadt and her legal team wrestle with, and as they're complicated and universal, I found great depth in this part of the drama.

There is a parallel here to demagogues like Trump, and we see the most important thing we must hold on to - regardless of our political or religious viewpoints - is the truth. We must have truth, not "alternative facts", propaganda, or a re-writing of history which dishonors millions and is morally wrong. It's all the more important for monstrous events in history, the crimes against humanity such as the Holocaust. The voice of suffering must be heard, to paraphrase the film.

It's in the clear-eyed, sober pursuit of truth by the barrister played by Tom Wilkinson, and in the scenes at Auschwitz, that the film is at its strongest. And as Lipstadt/Weisz puts 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." The film stirs up a proper amount of outrage, and for me had real tension. If you'd like a little extra helping of outrage and sadness, just read a selection of the low rating reviews out on IMDb, which seems to be a haven for the alt-right to attack films like this, or those starring or directed by African-Americans. I'm not saying if you didn't like the film you're in this group, but my god, reading some of those reviews is depressing.
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3/10
Disappointing
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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6/10
burden of proof
ferguson-66 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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9/10
Fascinating
promasallc14 May 2017
This movie was riveting. It's impossible to pack so much heavy material and detail into 2 hours, but it does masterfully. Rachel Weisz nails her character flawlessly, the Queens accent, mannerisms, reactions, timing: sublime. The editing, flow, and pace of the movie were on point. There were no slow points or rabbit holes, and they weaved in backstory in seamlessly. I had not known about this controversy, but with the gruesome Trump presidency situation, this movie is a sorely needed reminder that TRUTH MATTERS and while justice might move slowly, the truth will win. I also enjoyed Alex Jennings from The Crown series in his role here as the judge. Masterful movie on a fascinating topic, bravo.
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1/10
Propaganda piece ... too bad.
emerson_chris3 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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2/10
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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9/10
Taking From the Pages of History?
spookyrat19 April 2019
Denial is a wonderful movie adaption of a gripping true story. Though a couple of decades old now, in an era of officially sanctioned "alternative" facts and liberally pedalled untruths, its story resonates just as forcefully now, as it did at the outcome of the trial which is the central focus of the narrative.

The performances are uniformally excellent, especially those of the four leading characters. The very under-rated Rachel Weisz plays American author and historian Deborah Lipstadt upon whose part biographical book, the film is based. Her publishing company Penguin Books is sued for libel in the UK, by the self-styled and self-promoting David Irving, a so-called expert historian on Nazi German history. Timothy Spall plays the oily Irving, with just the right mix of reptilian fascination. Lipstadt, deciding to defend the case in London hires a legal team led by solicitor Anthony Julius and barrister Richard Rampton, which must prove that Irving had lied about the Holocaust to win the case. Tom Wilkinson is outstandingly good, as Rampton, reputed to be at the time, one of the best legal minds in Britain, an accolade we later learn he earned with good reason. Anthony Scott, whose work is mostly seen in the film's first half provides plenty of that quietly self-deprecating, understated humour for which the Brits are well-known and which adds just the right dash of comic relief to proceedings, which frequently cover exceedingly grim territory.

Besides unveiling the overarching true contest about what constitutes true history and what is false and confronting issues of racism and anti-Semitism, Denial fascinates, with its detailing of the defence's trial strategy, with which for much of the lead-up to and trial itself, Lipstadt didn't necessarily agree. Ultimately she puts her faith in her legal team and is rewarded in a genuinely moving climax.

Director Mick Jackson, whose cinema work I haven't seen for many a day, handles the production, like the defence team itself, in a smartly proficient, non-flashy manner. This is especially noticeable when the defence team tour the skeletal remains of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, seeking to find weaknesses in Irving's historical accounts of Nazi actions. The temptation to recreate large-scale scenes of human horror are strongly controlled and only briefly hinted at.

Denial is that rare cinematic beast. It's about as close as you'll come to getting a dramatised true story, without it falling into the documentary genre. Indeed much of the dialogue during the compelling trial scenes of the second half is taken directly from the courtroom records. I have to admit to some surprise that Denial didn't have a greater impact at some of the high profile awards ceremonies.
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2/10
Guilty!
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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2/10
Biased movie
lmabadie7 December 2018
Could not watch this movie without the constant feeling that I was being brainwashed. It actually achieved exactly the opposite effect on me that it probably intended.... that is a sign that it is also a bad movie.

The historical facts ares much more complex than completely demonizing Hitler and the nazis, and it is difficult not to see this film a sample of propaganda. Spielberg was involved in the financing of the trial.... it is difficult not to see Hollywood financing this movie and the reasons for doing so.

Not only Jews died in concentration camps, a significant number were not Jews, but there are no movies for them.
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8/10
Some People...
jimbowclock5 September 2019
Denial is a very nice little courtroom drama with a big impact. The performances are top notch, especially the acting vets Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall. The director lets the story make the impact, instead of style. It's hard to believe there are people in this world that have beliefs like these. The only thing I can say bad about it, is I wish there was more of the case which was always the most interesting part of the film. I could have watched the whole case unfold and been completely tuned in. I think there is only four or so scenes of the actual case. An underdog for holocaust movies with emotionally haunting scenes and one for the strong willed, who decide to stand for what is right. 80%
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4/10
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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5/10
Somewhat of a disappointment
AlsExGal8 September 2017
A British neo-Nazi sues an American Jewish writer for defamation, in a UK court, where such cases are easier to bring. The characters are stereotypes. Rachel Weisz' Queens accent is over the top. The Brits are typical movie Brits. Harriet Walter, whom I adore on stage (What a Duchess of Malfi she was!), is cringe-making as a character who pops up regularly to represent the voice of all the Holocaust survivors residing in London. Tom Wilkinson is pretty good as the barrister. Timothy Spall is creepily effective as a British neo-Nazi "historian." I rather liked Andrew Scott.

David Hare has done good work, as a playwright and as a screenwriter. Denial is an exception. The screenplay, loosely based on a true story, deserved better treatment.
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Captivating
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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7/10
Disappointing
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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3/10
A very biased move
twilwin28 April 2019
I watched the movie Denial on SBS, the producers had gotten the most surliest evil looking character to play the part of David Irving. And the most beautiful actress to play the part of Deborah E. Lipstadt. Such a biased movie. Actually David Irving is a very handsome gentleman with a great sense of humour
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4/10
'Denial' is extensively confused in tone, constantly peaking and falling throughout its rushed narrative
joshteggert28 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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