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Movie Review: Denial

Updated on October 24, 2016
Source

Rating: B

*No Spoilers*

The Pros

  • The Plot - What I found to be so fascinating about this movie was that anyone could possibly deny that the Holocaust ever happened. What I did not expect was how difficult it could actually be to prove that it did. What made this so compelling was that the trial was held in the U.K. where it is the defenders responsibility to prove innocence, or in this case, prove that the Holocaust happened and that David Irving deliberately denies this and falsified historical information to do so. This being a true story made it that much more satisfying to watch the defendants try to prove this guy wrong.
  • The Acting - The acting in this movie was great all around but Timothy Spall (Wormtail from Harry Potter) in particular was outstanding as David Irving. The way he portrayed this man, I could tell without words that David Irving wasn't simply wrong about the Holocaust, he was just in denial. Being a Hitler historian he was too stubborn to admit that Hitler orchestrated the whole thing. David Irving was a pretty complex character and Timothy Spall portrayed him well. Rachel Weisz and Richard Rampton were great as well. I could feel the weight of it all in their performances. How they couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that someone could just blatantly deny such an important and horrific part of our history. Also, the weight that was felt when these characters went to Auschwitz, almost unable to process what took place there. Very powerful filmmaking.
  • Auschwitz - This was a relatively short part of the movie (probably 5-10 min if I had to guess) but it is such a heavy place that it sticks with you. I don't want to give away much from this scene to allow you to experience it as fresh as these characters do. This was a powerful scene for a few different reasons. First, it was silent. No music playing in the background, and no characters talking during some long shots of this place where you, as a viewer, are left to process it yourself. Second, it was very interesting to see what precautions were taken by the Nazis to ensure no one would know what happened there. It was even more interesting to watch our main characters try to prove what happened there regardless. Third, simply experiencing this scene as these characters were, sucked me right in to the power and emotion of this scene.

The Cons

  • Main Character's Strength - A minor issue I had with the movie was that the main character (Rachel Weis) did not seem to do anything of importance once arriving to London. Her lawyers pretty much handle the case (for reasons explained in the film). While I understand a that this is a true story and that this is probably how it happened in reality, but this is the movie. She came across as a strong character but had nothing to do to prove it, this doesn't translate well to movie form. They should have slightly altered her story to give her something important to do, or they should have shifted the focus from her and to the lawyer that was putting together her case.
  • A Bit Slow - I was not bored at all during this movie, it is important to me to start by saying that, but the movie is on the slower side throughout. This is a dialogue heavy film as it should be, but I could see some finding this boring.

Official Trailer

Source

Recommendation

Denial is a slow, but powerful, movie centered around the concept of Holocaust deniers. The trial being set in London, "flips the table" because in the U.K. it is up to the defense team to prove their innocence. In this case, that means that the defense team must prove that the Holocaust happened and that David Irving deliberately falsified historical facts.

I would definitely recommend going out to see this movie, it is on the slower side and maybe could have been about 20 minutes shorter, but it is satisfying in the end and I think it is a movie worth seeing.

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