October 4, 2016 6 min to read

Denial (Advanced Screening) Review

Category : Uncategorized

Release Date – Friday, October 7th

“No Holes, No Holocaust.”

I think it was at the screening I saw of Anthropoid earlier this year when I first saw the trailer for Denial, if it wasn’t then it was definitely during my second trip to the theatre to see Anthropoid. But I was immediately swept up in the trailer, and it blew my mind, mainly by the quote it opens with. “I say to you quite tastelessly that more women died on the back seat of senator Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick then ever died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.” Immediately, that 14 seconds into the trailer I knew I had to see this movie, considering my history background and my fascination with World War II history and taking a Holocaust History course at my final year at university, I knew this movie was for me. I came solely for the story, but it was with the amazing cast that this story had the impact it did.

Denial is a Biography, Drama, History film, based on a true story about an acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt who must battle for historical truth to prove the holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

Denial is directed by Mick Jackson. I’ve never heard of this director, but I have heard of his work. He directed such films as: Chattahooche (1989), L.A. Story (1991), The Bodyguard (1992), and Volcano (1997). This was my first film i’ve seen him direct, and you can tell he is an extremely talented director, as soon as the film started, I was hooked to the screen for the hour and 50 minute duration. I think his main asset is that he’s able to frame the camera very well, like he has his establishing shots, and he doesn’t do many cuts in-between. It also seems like he has a lot of faith in his actors and their abilities too, because it seemed like he just let them work their magic and in turn the actors worked their magic. I think the best use of framing, which was also my favourite scene in the movie as morbid as that sounds was the scenes at Auschwitz. Auschwitz always been something I wanted to go see in real life, and I will someday. But this footage that was shot there was mind blowing and powerful on film, I can only imagine what those emotions would be in real life. He has a keen eye for detail, and his framing and his way of shooting camera angles is crazy, I’d like to explore his other works, after seeing Denial. He is definitely something special.

The cinematography for a courtroom drama is extremely well done, especially the Auschwitz scene, that scene took me away and I was so fascinated and enthralled by what I was seeing, like my mind was blown, I’ve read so much about it, but seeing the real thing on screen and not in a textbook or a picture online is something completely different.

The screenplay is written by David Hare. An extremely talented writer whose work i’m more familiar with than Mick Jackson. His works include The Hours (2002), and The Reader (2008). I think that Hare has a passion for writing historical screenplays, The Reader (2008) was a brilliantly written film. I can’t wait to see what he writes next.

The technical aspects of Denial were fantastic, it was extremely well paced, and directed. The films script was well written and was very well done.

Denial stars so many great actors, that it’ll be too hard to give you details on each one. But I’ll give you the major characters and you can IMDb the others if I don’t convince you. Rachel Weisz, the always lovely actor, played Deborah Lipstadt. Her other roles consist of Chain Reaction (1996), The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), Enemy At The Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Constantine (2005), The Fountain (2006), Definitely, Maybe (2008), The Lovely Bones (2009), The Lobster (2015), and The Light Between Oceans (2016). You know when you’re watching a movie that Rachel Weisz is in, that you’re going to be in for a well acted, well directed and very interesting story, and thats just what Denial is. There were times when I was watching Denial, that I forgot that I was watching a movie, I was so sucked into the story, that I thought I was watching the real trial unfold. Tim Wilkinson is in Denial as well. His other films consist of a whole other crap load of movies, but his major roles consist of – The Full Monty (1997), Shakespeare In Love (1998), Rush Hour (1998), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Batman Begins (2005), The Last Kiss (2006), Valkyrie (2008), RockNRolla (2008), The Debt (2010), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Selma (2014), and Snowden (2016). I’ve always liked his movie roles, but I never really knew his name and realized he was in so much. He was superb in Denial, he was just on fire and brilliant. He played Lipstadt’s attorney and you would’ve thought he’d been a lawyer full time. Finally, Timothy Spall plays the insane David Irving. Just by his lines in the film and how he was presented, you hated him so much but he played the role so well, it was crazy. His other films consist of Quadrophenia(1979), Chicken Run (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Last Samurai (2003), Harry Potter Series Azkaban (2004) – Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice In Wonderland (2010), The King’s Speech (2010), and Upside Down (2012). He’s always been a great actor, but to go from being in roles that you like him in, to the complete opposite in Denial is crazy. Its definitely interesting to see Spall stretch his acting legs and changing up his roles quite a bit. In closing, I think the acting is superb, and It wouldn’t surprise me, in fact I’ll call it now, Rachel Weisz will be nominated for best female actor in a leading role at the 2017 Oscars. You heard it here!

Seeing the whole film come together, with the great writing and directing and the sensational cast, I was blown away. Like the film started and you were hooked to the screen for the 2 hours.

The soundtrack too was very subtle, but it was very effective.

My only negative to the film is that I wish there was some more history in it, like I wish there was more evidence presented and talked about then what there was, it was sensational anyways, but a little more historical fact would’ve taken it to another level for me. To the normal movie watcher this wouldn’t be a negative for you, as you probably wouldn’t notice. And also I thought that there could’ve been more backstory into Lipstadt a bit, but overall it was a very good movie.

Oscar nomination predictions – best picture, best female actor in a leading role (Weisz)

Before I close this off, I would like to critique teachings of World War II history. In my 25 years of life, I’ve never heard of this trial that Denial was referring to, and I never heard of Operation Anthropoid until the film came out earlier this year. My question is why? Why haven’t we heard about these important events? I mean Anthropoid, was the assassination of the highest ranking officer to be killed in Hitler’s Third Reich in World War 2, You’d think that alone would be worth learning about. We’ll that, and this German officer, was the third in command in the Reich and the mastermind behind the final solution to the European Jewish question. Denial was the denial of the holocaust and the events that occurred, that we have actual fact about, that we have stories and survival stories, we have testimonies from survivors, like it would be ridiculous to me to try to deny that the events of the Holocaust existed. But I don’t know why we don’t learn about these events in schools and I think this needs to change, and it blows my mind that it hasn’t changed yet.

I would give Denial a 4.5/5, I will be going to see it again, as I know my mother would love this movie, as she loves Law, so I’d like to take her to it. Also, my uncle who I took to see Anthropoid would love this; so maybe I can make it a Two-fer.

Until Next Time!

-Andrew

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