It’s difficult to fathom that there are people today who believe the Holocaust never happened, yet only 10 years ago a major court battle was fought where a Jewish-American historian was forced in a British legal round to prove that the event actually happened.
This mind-boggling case is the basis of ‘Denial’, an understated drama that foregoes any showy courtroom scenes and rousing speeches in favour of well-served performances.
Rachel Weisz plays Deborah Lipstadt, a Queens-born historian who essentially has her integrity brought into question when passionate Hitler-defender David Irving (a hateful Timothy Spall) sues her for libel after he takes offense to a characterization she expresses about him in her latest work.
To argue that the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population at the hands of the Nazis never happened feels like a losing battle, yet during the intensely scripted moments of ‘Denial’s courtroom sequences it’s surprising that Irving’s arguments almost appear plausible; an instant where the overseeing judge give the impression to be swaying in favour of Irving is one of the more infuriating moments.
Whilst ‘Denial’ has an impressive pedigree of talent behind it, and is worthy of a trip to the cinemas should you be wanting more stimulating material, there is a certain small-screen mentality to it with it feeling more like a production that will find a receptive audience on the home-video/streaming market.
Denial is in Australian cinemas on Thursday. Watch the trailer below: