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Mick Jackson
Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson
Writing Credits:
David Hare

Historian Deborah Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when infamous Holocaust denier David Irving sues her for libel.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 1/3/2017

• “Making of Denial” Featurette
• Trailer
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Denial [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 8, 2023)

As the last eight years established here in the US, nutbag conspiracy theorists continue to prosper. For a look at a particular true story in that vein, we go to 2016’s Denial.

Set in the mid-1990s, Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) teaches history at Atlanta’s Emory University. She specializes in topics related to the Holocaust and that leads her on a collision course with Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall).

This leads to a lawsuit in which Irving sues Lipstadt for libel, one that takes Deborah to court in the UK. Because that system forces the accused to prove innocence, Deborah needs to prove that the Holocaust happened.

In the 1990s, director Mick Jackson made his name with popcorn flicks like LA Story, The Bodyguard and Volcano. Nowhere prior to 2017 will one find another effort in Jackson’s filmography that takes on a topic as serious as Denial.

Does this automatically make Jackson the wrong person for a tale of this sort? No, but Denial does feel like an odd choice for a filmmaker who worked only in lighter fare for so many years.

Jackson doesn’t actively harm Denial, but he also fails to add to the product. The powerful nature of the story carries the day with or without Jackson.

That said, I think a less sentimental director could’ve done better with the material. Jackson can’t help but embrace the melodramatic side of the story too much of the time.

Courtroom narratives come with their own natural tension. Jackson feels reluctant to embrace this, so he heaps on unnecessary interpersonal material to pad the movie.

In cinematic terms, Deborah exists to give the audience an entry point and add emotion. However, she largely feels like a plot device and a distraction.

Of course the character needs to be part of the tale since her case became the source. However, we spend too much time with unnecessary drama and outside of the courtroom, which is where the movie really shines.

When Denial looks at the actual case, it becomes compelling. When it digresses from that side, it meanders and becomes less effective.

Still, the source offers a pretty intriguing topic, and a good cast helps it. Weisz still can’t pull off an American accent, but she gives Deborah reasonable heart, and both Spall and Wilkinson bring heft to their roles.

Due to too much schmaltz, I can’t call Denial a great movie. Nonetheless, the basic story proves winning enough to make it a worthwhile project.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

Denial appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying image.

From start to finish, sharpness looked good. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a palette that favored a strong golden/orange tone along with some teal. Across the board, the hues looked fine within those parameters.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Denial seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most character dramas, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels.

It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides. Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility.

Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

The Making of Denial runs three minutes, 42 seconds. It brings notes from director Mick Jackson, author Deborah Lipstadt, screenwriter David Hare, and actors Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson.

“Making” looks at story/character basics as well as cast and performances. It offers pretty simple promo fare.

The disc opens with ads for Loving, Nocturnal Animals, Girl On a Train and Bleed For This.

In addition to the film’s trailer, Previews adds promos for Danny Collins, Anthropoid, Eye in the Sky, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Pawn Sacrifice and Trumbo.

Based on a true event, Denial delivers a source story with great natural tension. Though depicted in an inconsistent manner, the movie nonetheless brings out enough of the inherent drama to make it worth a look. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, acceptable audio and minor bonus materials. While it doesn’t hit on all cylinders, Denial remains fairly involving.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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