Denial (2016)

Cast includes: Rachel Weisz (The Whistleblower), Tom Wilkerson (Michael Clayton), Timothy Spall (Secrets & Lies), Andrew Scott (Spectre)
Director: Mick Jackson (Temple Grandin, The Bodyguard)
Genre: Drama | History (109 minutes)


Huffington Post

Professor Lipstadt’s class at Emory examines all sides of holocaust denial. She wrote the famous book… Denying the Holocaust… and in her travels, she’s heard every opinion there is. She’s happy to talk with skeptics, but she refuses to meet with “absolute deniers,” such as David Irving, a peddler of “manufactured history.” Irving is as famous in the realm of holocaust denial as Deborah Lipstadt is in holocaust studies. After he disrupts one of her lectures, he circulates the video as some sort of validation. In 1996, he goes a step further… he sues Lipstadt for defamation in London High Court. Even though the American justice system has much in common with the English system, this suit presents a unique challenge… there’s no presumption of innocence. The burden of proof is on Lipstadt to show that she has not defamed David Irving.

So what does this mean? Is the London court going to decide the history? Is the holocaust on trial? Her lawyers Anthony Julius and Richard Rampton take a surprisingly clinical view on how to approach this case. For starters, they won’t be calling any survivors to appear. Deborah can hardly contain her exasperation. Rampton redeems himself slightly when he asks Deborah to accompany him on a tour of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. On a cold, foggy morning, Deborah and other experts wait outside the barbed wire fence for Rampton to show up. They don’t realize that he’s already there walking the parameter. Tears are inevitable in a place like this… in fact the barbed wire literally weeps with the condensation. But it’s cold hard facts that will be needed in this case. “After 50 years, there’s never been a proper scientific investigation,” Deborah realizes.

It’s not just the fact that the holocaust happened that’s on trial… it’s whether David Irving has the right to say there are two points of view on the actual facts. Even though the holocaust is the central topic, this courtroom drama isn’t really about the holocaust. It’s about whether manufactured history and manufactured facts deserves equal respect as documented facts. It’s about whether we have a legal right to call a lie a lie without being sued for defamation. If this theme sounds applicable to 2016 current events, it’s probably because truth has been under assault lately. This film will no doubt be far too dry for many moviegoers. It’s well told and well acted. The central argument of the case is a narrow but important one, and the filmmakers have chosen to represent it with little sentimentality. “Not all opinions are equal.”

popcorn rating

2 popped kernels

Courtroom drama examines whether holocaust denial deserves equal respect along side holocaust history and facts

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG-13
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Neutral 
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Sober
Tempo: In No Hurry
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism 
Nutshell: Holocaust denial trial
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative & Thought Provoking

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