Thanks to Entertainment One and Sony Pictures Australia we had the chance to see ‘Denial’ before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
“Denial” is based on the year 2000 court case of “Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt”. The plot centres around Deborah Lipstadt (played by Rachel Weisz) an American Professor of Holocaust Studies who was sued by historian David Irving for libelling him in her book “Denying the Holocaust”. David Irving is infamously known for his writings on Hitler, Nazi Germany and denying the Holocaust.
With such a gripping premise, “Denial” makes for a highly engaging and compelling film. Although almost two-hour in length the film doesn’t have a drawn out set up and doesn’t feel long. It is very well paced. The film focusses on the Court case, doesn’t go into great detail on any of the characters, centred on trying to create a realistic representation of events.
The film gives a very good insight into the British legal system (which Australia shares) as well as showing the time and preparation that goes into building a case. It was interesting seeing this from the perspective of Lipstadt. The audience feels the frustrations of her character as her passion for the case sometimes overshadows her reason and ability to be objective. The crux of the case is intriguing because it is not about proving the Holocaust happened. Its about proving Irving knowingly used false documents and evidence to disprove the Holocaust, giving Lipstadt reason to call him out on it in her book. There is a lot of grey area in this case and it’s interesting to watch the lawyers negotiate this.
Rachel Weisz is believable as Deborah Lipstadt a brassy, intelligent and fiery academic who dedicated her life to studying the Holocaust. Her character development is very well done (though perhaps a tad “Hollywood”). Lipstadt has to overcome her ego as an academic and being Jewish emotionally remove herself from the trauma of the subject matter. The film treats the subject matter respectfully. A scene where the lawyers and Lipstadt have to visit Auschwitz is not overdone to elicit an emotional response from the audience.
“Denial” comes with a high recommendation as a serious and intense film. The film is sure to spark conversation due to its highly engaging and thought provoking subject matter.
In Cinemas 13th April