Denial - This Movie Almost Rocks By Numbers
Dir: Mick Jackson
Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wikinson, Timothy Spall. Andrew Scott
Rocking up in awards season, Denial is yet anther “based on a true story” number, in this case a very conventional courtroom drama that looks at the ground breaking case US lecturer and author Deborah Lipstadt (a solid Weisz) brought against noted historian – and Holocaust denier – David Irving (a superb Spall.) it’s emotive stuff and as such is handled with both conviction and a certain obviousness by Jackson.
Jackson is a curious filmmaker with his catalogue ranging from a blockbuster like The Bodyguard to the quirky eccentricity of Steve Martin’s still undervalued LA Story to the Emmy-award winning Temple Grandin. It’s fair to say that none of those movies bear that much of an individual stamp, and this is also a movie that lacks any sense of authorship. Yes, it knows how to make its audience hush when you show long, lingering shots of Auschtitz, it knows how said audience will react when a survivor rolls up her sleeve to reveal her concentration camp tattooed serial number. And it knows how to deliver a series of courtroom scenes with forensic aplomb. But it rarely rises above that feeling that everything here is by the numbers, perfunctory almost. There’s no denying (no pun intended) the power of the subject matter, and it’s not so much that it feels “ordinary” – just “obvious” - Weisz is the feisty American, the Brits know not to shake an umbrella indoors, and so on.
With a strong cast – and a nagging suspicion that the whole thing might have felt more comfortable on television – Andrew Scott is the standout as the self satisfied yet amusingly deadpan lawyer.
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