Denial (2016) Friday, 03 April 2020

Denial (2016)

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    M: Occasional coarse language.

  • The pitch:

    Hard to believe.

  • Starring:

    Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius

  • Directed by:

    Mick Jackson

  • Running time:

    109 minutes

  • Rated:

    M (Australia), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)


    Frequent claims of Holocaust denial: no genocide, inflated death numbers (not 5 or 6 millions), Jews just trying to deceptively obtain compensation/publicity. Auschwitz setting (piles of personal possessions on display - glasses/shoes/bags - bombed buildings, barbed wire fences, undressing rooms, gravesites; discussions of crematorium dynamited two weeks before the end of the war, use of cyanide crystals (Zyklon B), how people were murdered, delousing chamber, morgues, gassing. People are verbally attacked, threatened with death, hit with an egg. A character steps on barbed wire. Extreme right-wing groups at rally (Neo-Nazis, skinheads, Nazi salute, etc). Rudolf Hess described as a martyr. Comparison made between Holocaust denier to wife beater or paedophile. Bombed-out building, self-styled execution expert mentioned. Arguing. Blood/gore: Brief image of bare arms and shoulders scrambling at chamber door. Details of how people were killed in Auscwitz discussed, muffled screams heard. "Liquidation of Jews" mentioned. Many references to deaths during Holocaust and World War II. Typhus, lice, disease, cadavers, incinerating corpses, delousing, killing lice mentioned. Holocaust survivor's tattoo on arm. Blood ingredient of black pudding described.


    (None): Implied nudity of gassing victims. A man says he likes nice girls with nice breasts.


    Alcohol (wine, spirits, shots). Smoking (cigarettes).


    F-word, s-words, name-calling. Anti-semitism (filthy Jew, scum, vulgar comments about survivor stories: "how much money have you made out of that tattoo", "are they ever going to let it go", "utterly boring", etc), jokes about Holocaust. Mention during court case of a racist song being taught to a child. Misogyny (talk of women falling for a man's charms, reference to nice girls with nice breasts). A person is called a Nazi-lover. Religious references and exclamations.


    Deborah E. Lipstadt, the Holocaust, Holocaust denial, accusation, libel, conspiracy, David Irving, High Court (London), differences between UK and US legal systems, genocide, World War II, prejudice, forensics, Jewish history.


    Auschwitz, courtroom settings. Abandoned by father, divorce mentioned. Dog. Barbecuing meat in close-up. Based on true events. Based on the book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial by Deborah Lipstadt.


    Powerful, riveting, devastating, responsible, exemplary, accurate, emotional, wrenching, sensitive, cogent, compelling, sensitive, interesting, essential, urgent, unromantic, cautionary, gripping, poignant, timely. Illuminating/fascinating/arresting/combative/riveting performance by Rachel Weisz, creepy/quiet/smoldering/ferocious/stubborn/despicable performance by Timothy Spall, excellent supporting cast, brilliant/balanced screenplay by David Hare, rich/meticulous research, hair-raising/unforgettable images of Auschwitz memorial, subdued/moving/fine score, avoids cliché.


    Basic, dry. Forced drama in third act, small-screen/workmanlike direction, unconvincing/distracting wig, does little to humanise/characterise Deborah E. Lipstadt.

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