Directed By: Mick Jackson
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Spall, Andrew Scott
Genre: Drama, History
Country of Origin: USA 2016 110 mins. (12A)
Released by e One
Historian Deborah E. Lipstadt's (Rachel Weisz) lecture based on her 1993 book 'Denying the Holocaust' at Emory University in Atlanta is interrupted by historian and Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) hoping to goad her into a debate. Arrogantly he offers one thousand dollars if anyone can show that the Nazis killed Jews in Auschwitz.
In 1996 David Irving brought a libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, when she declared him a Holocaust denier. David Hare's script, based on Deborah Lipstadt's book 'Denial:Holocaust History on Trial,' her first hand account of the libel suit is a low key but gripping courtroom drama that doesn't delve into the reasons for Irving's beliefs or his present day status.
Interested parties suggested an out of court settlement but Deborah Lipstadt was adamant that a principle was at stake and a debt owed to the victims of the Holocaust to nail the lie. The case being heard in the English court had a Kafkaesque feel for the American academic, the burden of proof being on the defendant and advice suggesting that Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust survivors don't give evidence only added to that feeling. The case was heard by Judge Charles Gray (Alex Jennings) and the defence case assembled by Solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), a specialist in defamation who represented Lady Diana Spencer and libel QC Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) which included a visit to Auschwitz which was treated as a crime scene.
The cast are excellent. Timothy Spall is smug, hog the self, pity the rest, the stage is mine, Tom Wilkinson is everything expected of the slightly eccentric, wine loving Scottish lawyer who will take the lie to task, Andrew Scott offers a charismatic and confident front and Rachel Weisz is torn between advice offered and what her heart tells her to do. The 300 page written judgement was given in 2000 - David Irving is a Holocaust denier, an antisemite and a racist.
'Denial' is released in the UK 27th January, Holocaust Remembrance Day.