Director: Mick Jackson
Mick Jackson, who I remember mostly for 90's hit The Bodyguard, with little much between then and now apart from a long list of TV Movies and Volcano, brings us a compelling court room drama that stands up with the best such as Class action, A time to Kill, JKF and A Few Good Men.
It's based on Deborah Lipstadt's novel, "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier", which is about the progression and outcome of the libel law suit, the Irving V Penguin Books Ltd case where historian author, David Irving alleges Libel in Lipstadt's earlier novel "Denying the Holocaust." Now if you're not familiar with the case, which was held in London's Royal Courts of Justice. Lipstadt refuses to enter open discussion with anyone who would deny the holocaust ever happening. A notion that seems so absurd, the law suit unfortunately opens a wound of debate, forcing for a larger argument, proving that the holocaust did happen. But that's outrageous to even think that such a horrendous event is myth and was only a propaganda tool for Jewish sympathisers. The facts are shocking and actually made me question the reliability of it actually happening, but what was I thinking.
The film starts with the initial introduction of the characters, Lipstadt portrayed by Rachel Weisz and Irving played superbly well by Timothy Spall, with Andrew Scott playing the solicitor advocate extraordinaire, Anthony Julius, the very same lawyer who Diana, Princess of Wales for her controversial divorce. But it's Tom Wilkinson who steals the show as Libel defence lawyer Richard Rampton, who together with Julius' team and his own build up a strategic defence against Irving.
The story continues to watch the progression of the case unfold, the lengthy and in depth research that goes on in ones defence and the strange legalities that goes on in British courts of law. It's a highly intriguing film, like watching two teams play out their chess moves before a crucial game. It shows the conflict amongst the accused team, the morally importance of what was happening, being much larger than just her word against his, and the implications that would follow no matter the course of action.
It doesn't let up for the 109min runtime but it so well paced it keeps you well informed at all times. It's so well written, superbly structured with an incredible script and impressive diction from the cast, especially watching Wilkinson V Spall in the court room is riveting drama, which is made all the more astonishing to find out it's verbatim from the actual trial records.
Everything about the film is very British. The Brit rich cast including Weisz who ironically plays an American. The locations being mostly films around Temple and just outside the Royal Courts of Justice. The courtroom scenes being understandably filmed elsewhere and they were granted permission to film at Auschwitz, Poland. Howard Shore does a suitable yet plain score with a hint of Lord of the Rings coming through. I can only imagine his task of composing a score for such a film to be very difficult.
It's an education like Spotlight, The Big Short and Snowden was last year, but sadly I believe this is going to be over looked, pretty much like last year's Anthropoid. It deserves so much more attention than what it's currently getting, so I urge you to watch should you get the chance.
Running Time: 10
The Cast: 10
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being a grand British court room drama.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes!