Acclaimed historian Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) must battle to prove the historical truth of the Holocaust when renowned denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) sues her for libel.
Denial is an engaging courtroom drama that respects the history it is debating. While it gives Irving the space to put across his views, it never says those views are right or fair. The film frames Lipstadt and her team of lawyers as the speakers of truth and rightly so.
The scenes set at Auschwitz concentration camp are very respectable. The actors’ reactions to the environment they’re in is visceral and nothing is over-played in these scenes. The shorts of the hundreds and thousands of suitcases and other belongings of the Jews who were there is haunting, and the film doesn’t flinch away from the cold, harsh truth of the place and its history.
The courtroom scenes are tense as Irving and Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), Lipstadt’s lawyer, verbally spar over points of racism, anti-Semitism and what is fact and fiction. It’s touching how this case becomes so much to all of the defence team, Rampton can be blunt in his questions when investigation Auschwitz but it’s only so he can be best prepared.
There’s a few scenes between Lipstadt and a holocaust survivor (Harriet Walter) that are touching but almost feel like they are there to hammer home the point of getting some form of justice or closure for the victims and survivors, when it’s not really needed thanks to Weisz’s performance. Lipstadt is a Jew and that emotional connection can be found through her, and she acts as a voice for those who suffered.
Denial is a gripping true story. It’s a tough watch at times but great performances by all involved makes you root for those fighting for the truth in a very clever and complicated way, while Spall plays a man who you can’t quite believe is a real person, who apparently truly believed what he did. 4/5.
I have a Letterboxd account and it’s pretty great. Letterboxd is the movie version of Goodreads so you can log what you watch, write reviews, make lists and follow different users. If you get a Pro account (which is only $19 a year which is about £15 and I think that’s pretty good value to be honest) you get to see what your various movie-related stats are each year you log films and overall on all the films you’ve ever marked as watched.
I’ve been looking at which actors I’ve watched the most overall and there’s some interesting things there but it does make me want to try and change some of my viewing habits.
Out of my top twenty most watched actors, just two of them are women – Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett Johansson was someone I was surprised to be there as she’s not one of my favourite actors nor someone who I’d go to see a film just because they’re in it. Her being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly helped give her a boost and for a younger actor (she’s 32) she’s been in the business for a while and has an eclectic filmography. Rachel Weisz is a new addition because I have been watching more of her filmography recently, trying to get her (and more women in general) into my top twenty. In comparison to Johansson, Weisz is an actor who I love and will seek out films just because she’s in them but she usually stars in dramas or films that aren’t so mainstream hence while she is someone I do really like, her filmography isn’t always to my taste. (more…)
I love Rachel Weisz. The first film I ever saw her in was The Mummy (1999) and it is one of my favourite films. Thanks to her performance as Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy and its sequel The Mummy Returns (2001) I want to call my hypothetical future daughter Evelyn. I just love the character so much, she’s a librarian who’s smart and brave and totally saved the day.
The Fountain (2006) is an odd film, it’s from Darren Aronofsky so of course it’ll be at least a bit strange, but I can’t help but like it and the love story between Rachel Weisz’s Isabel and Hugh Jackman’s Tom is quite beautiful really.
Recently Rachel Weisz was honoured at Variety’s Power of Women event which is an event which honours women who do work to help others and further women’s causes. She was honoured due to her work with the charity Opportunity Network which helps lower-income children go to college and to go on to graduate.