Based on true events, this is the account of Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books’ defense of a libel suit brought by outspoken Holocaust denier, David Irving. He alleges that Lipstadt has destroyed his career by repeatedly debunking his belief that Hitler did not order the Final Solution and that events so thoroughly recorded in history did not actually happen. Navigating the intricacies of the British legal system, Lipstadt and her team are forced to take on the burden of proof and demonstrate that not only did Irving falsify historical data, he did so with intent. It’s a powerful and fascinating account with tremendous ramifications.
2016, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 51 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall
Directed by Mick Jackson
This is a tremendously powerful film. The subject matter is emotionally-charged to a level that few other historical events can be. That said, it is presented with care and respect by a group of truly gifted actors and an obviously talented director. What could have been an extremely dark and depressing movie turns out to be a fascinating look into the British legal system and into the world of those who deny the existence of one of the defining periods in human history.
It’s obvious from the beginning that Lipstadt and her team faced an uphill battle from the start. While that may seem incredible, David Irving knew exactly how to play the legal system and the press to his advantage. Even if you know the outcome already, which you will if you’ve read the actual history of the trial, the film builds suspense masterfully and never leaves you flat. I can’t imagine anyone not becoming engaged in this amazing account. No matter what your views on the subject may be, I can’t recommend Denial highly enough. It delivers education and message in equal measure and in today’s day and age, turns out to be very relevant.
Image quality is more than adequate for the film’s purpose. The color palette is natural and varies between cold hues depicting a bleak, rainy London, to the warmth of dimly-lit offices and the austerity of a traditional British courtroom. A little softness pops up here and there preventing the picture from achieving reference quality.
Audio is completely centered around dialog which is handled with deftness and clarity. Ambient sounds are used too sparingly where they might have enhanced the sense of immersion. Music is mostly well-fitted but some of the early material seemed a little too light and fluffy given what was going on.
Bonus features are slim and include only a brief making-of featurette and a trailer. Considering the magnitude of the subject matter, it seems to me that a huge opportunity to educate has been missed.