Based on the book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” Denial is about acclaimed historian Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and her battle against David Irving (Timothy Spall) who sues her for libel over whether the holocaust actually happened.
Also starring Tom Wilkinson as part of Lipstadt’s legal team, Denial might look like a courtroom drama on the outside, but this movie is more of a biography that shows us a mindset that some of us couldn’t even fathom and that is that the Holocaust didn’t happen. This movie is simple and easy to understand, yet has many layers on a difficult subject. The acting is solid and the story will touch many. It is interesting that anyone could have ever said that the Holocaust didn’t happen, but because of this court ruling, there is no doubt going forward. No one can deny this horrific event anymore.
Unfortunately, that is all Denial really is. It is a 2 hour battle between a historian and a liar. I’m not sure how much rewatchability this movie has, similar to Spotlight, this movie has history at its core with an easy to follow story. I think the major difference between Spotlight and this is that in Spotlight there is an investigation into the facts, where in Denial it is simply “how can we make this judge not believe the liar.”
At the end of the day, Denial is a good movie with plenty of history, but it lacks tension or excitement. This is a drama set in a courtroom without much magic. I’m not saying this story should be this way, but because it is what it is, it suffers compared to others. Having said that, if you are a fan of history or courtroom dramas, this movie is an interesting look at a time when some believed the Holocaust didn’t happen.
7/10 Stars – Even though it lacks energy for a courtroom drama, the history and subject matter will make up for the lack of flare.