Jerry Cutler On Film—‘Denial’ Covers Sensitive Subject Of Holocaust Denial With Respect, Esteem
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 – 4:51 PM
By Jerry Cutler
Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall star in Denial, a simple yet moving story about vociferous Holocaust denier David Irving. It is straight forward story told without cliches and haunting images meant to badger–just a reminder of a heinous time in history that should never be forgotten.
Spall as Irving is chillingly good as the adamant, self-centered Holocaust denier who is shamed and brought down by a no-nonsense diminutive school teacher, Deborah Lipstatd, played with admirable restraint by Oscar winner Weisz. The searing screenplay by David Hare is based on Lipstadt’s History On Trial: My Day In Court With A Holocaust Denier.
Building an iron clad defense against the smug Irving who had sued Lipstatd in England claiming defamation when she accused him of lying, is the English barrister, acted with calm and with cautious restraint, Richard Rampton (Wilkinson), who berates Irving for his hateful rhetoric and blinded beliefs.
The sensitive subject is humanely presented especially when they visit the gray ghost-like barren terrain of Auschwitz. It is a haunting and powerful scene and registers the somber effect of devastation and hopelessness.
Rampton decries the lack of the concentration camp’s extensive forensic records and with his solicitor, Andrew Scott as Anthony Julius, they set out to prove the essential truth.
Obviously, Denial is a sensitive subject, but all involved handle the story with the respect and esteem it so richly deserves.
3 out of 4 bagels
Jerry Cutler, the Courier’s film critic, is rabbi at Creative Arts Temple.