Mick JacksonUSA / United Kingdom110 minutes2016ColourB&WEnglish Hebrew German
Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) and Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner) star in this riveting, true-life drama about the courtroom showdown between historian Deborah Lipstadt and notorious Holocaust denier David Irving.
Denial tells the true story of a legal battle that cut to the heart of the 20th century. Directed by Emmy winner Mick Jackson, and adapted by BAFTA and Berlin Golden Bear–winning screenwriter David Hare from Deborah E. Lipstadt's book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, this film is an absorbing account of a woman's fight for the truth.
David Irving (Timothy Spall), once a well-regarded military historian, courted controversy when he began citing the pseudoscientific Leuchter report as proof that the Holocaust was a hoax. Lipstadt (Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz) explicitly labelled him a denier in her 1993 book Denying the Holocaust, and he sued her for libel. But since the burden of proof in English libel law lies with the accused, it bizarrely fell to Lipstadt and her legal team to demonstrate that one of the defining events of the century did indeed transpire.
Hare's previous screenplays for The Reader and The Hours dealt not just with historical events but with the very idea of history itself. Denial is no different. He zeroes in on the fascinating specifics of the court case while presenting a wider perspective on the dangers of revisionism. Weisz brings a ferocious tenacity to her portrayal of Lipstadt. And Spall, so often affable in the films of his long-time collaborator Mike Leigh, here epitomizes the banality of evil, playing an iconoclast goaded by newfound media attention. Denial is a gripping reminder that history should never be taken for granted.