Film review: Denial (4 out of 5)


It’s a tough act to create a movie out of a libel case that went on for weeks and the result of which is widely known.

Except that this case involved David Irving, English Holocaust denier and author, who in 1996, brought a libel case against acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt.

With an emotive subject matter at the heart of the case, the danger was obviously of trivialising the Holocaust or ending up with a dry and dusty court drama.

To its credit, Denial ends up finding a good path to avoid veering into either cul-de-sac.

However, there are a couple of scenes that try to make a point a bit too earnestly.

In a very strong British cast, Rachel Weisz plays the American Lipstadt, with a hair-do that was close to the real-life historian’s (in truth the only real physical similarity).

A slimmed down Timothy Spall doesn’t really look like Irving, but to be honest it doesn’t matter. His fine acting skills bring the character to life.

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, a favourite actor of mine Andrew Scott plays solicitor Anthony Julius which his usual aplomb (he must be due a meaty leading role!).

And the ever reliable Tom Wilkinson plays barrister Richard Rampton, in a performance of subtlety and great skill.

There is a rather pointless attempt to make the final judgement more exciting but overall this is a sound attempt to re-live an historic court case.

Film details: Denial (12A) 109mins

Director: Mick Jackson

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol