Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Some facts are so basic that they are not questioned: the sky is blue, Elvis is dead, and millions of Jewish men, women, and children were the victims of a genocide acted out by the Nazi party during World War II. In the mid-1990’s American Deborah Lipstadt was sued in the British courts for defamation for calling Holocaust denier David Irving a “liar and falsifier of history.” Lipstadt was forced to prove her innocence by putting history on trial.
Based on Lipstadt’s Memoir, Mick Jackson’s new Film Denial is a tense courtroom drama starring Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall as the two legal combatants. Wishing to “give voice for the ones who did not make it,” Lipstadt is odds with her legal team regarding the best way to present their case: they would prefer to err on the side of provable, historical facts rather than emotional, eyewitness testimony.
The Movie takes place mostly in London but also travels to Auschwitz for some emotionally fraught scenes. As Lipstadt and her lawyer (Tom Wilkinson) walk through Auschwitz the snow dusts the ground like ash and even the barbed wire fences seem to weep for those who died. The imagery is perhaps manipulative but nonetheless effective and beautifully-shot.
The verdict in this case is as easily googled as facts about the Holocaust but that does not take away from the impact Writer David Hare’s script. Strong performances bolster what is sure to be a much talked about Film at TIFF ’16.
Denial screens at TIFF:
Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM Princess of Wales Theatre
Monday, September 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM Winter Garden Theatre