Based on the acclaimed book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” DENIAL recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s (Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (Cannes Award winner Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system in Defamation, the burden of proof is on the accused, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. Also starring two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson, the film is directed by Emmy Award winner Mick Jackson (“Temple Grandin”) and adapted for the screen by BAFTA and Academy Award nominated writer David Hare (THE READER). Producers are Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff.
User Reviews: There’s something that feels packaged and glossy here, and maybe a little bit off with Rachel Weisz’s character (not sure if it’s the role or the performance), but the subject matter, the true story of a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving against historian Deborah Lipstadt is compelling, poignant, and raises important questions. How does one respond to someone whose views are so distorted, whose mind is filled with racist filth, and who spews outrageous lies which stir up rage in both those who believe him and those who are horrified by him? Someone who is so far outside the norm that to engage him is to help mainstream him, but to be silent is to let his views go unchallenged and uncorrected? Someone who will quickly drag you down into the gutter he’s in if you’re not very careful? These are the questions Lipstadt and her legal team wrestle with, and as they’re complicated and universal, I found great depth in this part of the drama.
There is a parallel here to demagogues like Trump, and we see the most important thing we must hold on to – regardless of our political or religious viewpoints – is the truth. We must have truth, not "alternative facts", propaganda, or a re-writing of history which dishonors millions and is morally wrong. It’s all the more important for monstrous events in history, the crimes against humanity such as the Holocaust. The voice of suffering must be heard, to paraphrase the film.
It’s in the clear-eyed, sober pursuit of truth by the barrister played by Tom Wilkinson, and in the scenes at Auschwitz, that the film is at its strongest. And as Lipstadt/Weisz puts it, "Freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want. What you can’t do is lie and expect not to be held accountable for it." The film stirs up a proper amount of outrage, and for me had real tension. If you’d like a little extra helping of outrage and sadness, just read a selection of the low rating reviews out on IMDb, which seems to be a haven for the alt-right to attack films like this, or those starring or directed by African-Americans. I’m not saying if you didn’t like the film you’re in this group, but my god, reading some of those reviews is depressing.