For Reel

Denial (2016)
October 30, 2016, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Mick Jackson
3 Stars
denialAs subjects like political correctness continue to be debated, a film like Denial carries an additional resonance in that it is a story that argues that not all opinions are created equal, and that there aren’t always two sides to every story. That’s not to say that the film is undemocratic (scribe David Hare offers this counterclaim only to set up his rebuttal), but rather that the exercise of free speech is one that comes with a certain responsibility. As a courtroom drama, it isn’t particularly suspenseful—the viewer of the film is not going to be weighing both sides when one of them involves a Holocaust denier, nor is the result a surprise. The film’s pleasures, however, come of the more campy variety. Rachel Weisz, adapting an absurdly thick Queens accent, serves as both the heroine and spunky comic relief, and much of the film involves her satisfied reaction shots as great thespians like Tom Wilkinson put Nazi-sympathizer David Irving (Timothy Spall) in his place. Hare’s script is too seduced by attempting to make this an underdog story and all but balks from the difficult ideas (a judge’s sensible refutation against the defendants’ strategy is there only to provide a moment of tension), but the actors occasionally rise above it.

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