DENIAL (2016) 5 Stars out of 5
DENIAL, is the true story of two authors and their search for the truth. One is historian Deborah Lipstad, who wrote a book about the denying of the Holocaust and those who pursue such falsehoods. The other author is historian David Irving, who published a book that denied the existence of the Holocaust. “The murder of Six Million Jews was all a hoax and I have the facts to prove it.”
In her book, Lipstadt calls out Irving for his efforts to deny the truth of what the Nazis did during the Second World War. Irving, decides to sue her for libel. According to the setup of the British legal system, rather than Irving needing to prove that Lipstadt lied, it was her burden to prove that she had written the truth. The film covers the years 1994-2000.
The film is a meticulous courtroom drama that feels more like a documentary. DENIAL is directed by Mick Jackson. Rachel Weisz plays Lipstadt. Timothy Spall plays Irving. Andrew Scott plays solicitor Anthony Julius. And in a marvelous performance, the great Tom Wilkinson plays barrister Richard Rampton. Upon leaving the theater, one cannot help but think beyond proving “facts”. We also have to prove that “the truth is the truth and nothing but the truth!”
Strong credit has to be given not only to the director and the ensemble cast, but also to the screenplay from David Hare. There are different levels to telling this story — from the differences between American and British law, the role that the Holocaust Survivors could have played in the story, and there is the visit to Auschwitz.
The “elephant in the theater” is not the Genocide of the Jewish People. DENIAL is a documentary that needs to be seen by every high school student in this country. Each of our future leaders need to truly understand the meaning of two words: NEVER AGAIN!
There is one scene that is unforgettable. When the trial research brings Lipstadt and her team to Auschwitz, for the first time as an audience, we really no longer see the Holocaust in black and white. We see the mass killing of millions in living color and stereophonic sound. And there is that one scene that may perhaps be the definitive portrayal of the Holocaust. In Spielberg’s SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993), we watched a child all in blood red — as everyone else was in black and white. In DENIAL, there is a close up of a barb on a barbwired electric fence. The camera begins to draw closer and closer. It seems to the audience that the barb is actually crying, as it drips tears of sorrow. Unforgettable in the history of cinema.