- 1 hr 50 min
Denial is a powerful and emotional drama from 2016 that tells the true story of a libel case against a Holocaust denier. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Deborah Lipstadt, a historian who becomes embroiled in a legal battle after being sued for libel by British historian David Irving (Timothy Spall). The film begins with Lipstadt giving a lecture on Holocaust denial at Emory University in Atlanta. Afterwards, she is approached by a man named David Irving who challenges her on her beliefs about the Holocaust. Lipstadt dismisses Irving's arguments, but soon finds herself facing a lawsuit when Irving accuses her of defaming his character in her book, "Denying the Holocaust." Lipstadt is determined to fight the lawsuit and prove that Irving is a Holocaust denier who has no academic credibility. She hires a team of lawyers, including British barrister Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), to represent her in court. The film follows the legal proceedings as the two sides battle it out in the courtroom, with Lipstadt unable to speak on her own behalf. Throughout the trial, Lipstadt and her legal team must navigate a complex web of British libel laws, which places the burden of proof on the defendant to prove that their accusations are true. They must also contend with Irving's bombastic and provocative courtroom tactics, as he attempts to portray himself as a victim of academic censorship. Despite the odds against them, Lipstadt and her team persevere, gathering evidence and witnesses to prove that Irving's claims are false. Weisz delivers a powerful performance as Lipstadt, capturing both her passion for the truth and her frustration at being unable to speak for herself in court. Wilkinson is also excellent as Rampton, portraying a lawyer who is initially dismissive of Lipstadt's case but eventually becomes her staunchest ally. Spall, meanwhile, is chilling as Irving, capturing his arrogance and smugness as he defends his outrageous beliefs. While the film doesn't delve deep into Irving's motivations, it does provide enough context to make his beliefs seem all the more appalling. Denial is a film that will make you think, and perhaps even feel angry, at the audacity of Holocaust deniers. The film is based on Lipstadt's own experiences, and as such, provides an intimate look at the emotional turmoil of a legal battle against a bigot. The film also raises important questions about the limits of free speech and the role of history in shaping our understanding of the world. Director Mick Jackson does an excellent job of balancing the legal drama with the human elements of the story. The film never loses sight of the real-life consequences of Holocaust denial, and the toll it takes on survivors and their families. While the film can at times feel heavy-handed in its messaging, it nevertheless delivers an important and timely reminder of the dangers of denying historical truth. Overall, Denial is a gripping and thought-provoking film that is sure to leave an impression on viewers. Weisz, Wilkinson, and Spall all deliver outstanding performances, and the film's message about the importance of truth and accountability is one that resonates long after the credits have rolled.